Dear Williams-Mystic Community,

I am writing to inform you that we will not convene a traditional Spring 2021 semester. We look forward to welcoming students back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester, should public health conditions permit.

In making this important decision, just as I did for the fall semester, I wanted to ensure that the key components of the Williams-Mystic experience would not be compromised. Such components include our commitment to experiential and place-based learning; time spent on the grounds of the Mystic Seaport Museum; a close-knit, residential community; and field seminar travel. All of these tenets of the Williams-Mystic experience were considered in light of our capacity to mitigate and manage the risks posed by COVID-19. I considered, most of all, our commitment to providing students with a healthy, fulfilling, and transformational study-away experience.

Having made this decision, we have communicated with all students admitted to the Spring 2021 semester. Each admitted student has the opportunity to defer to a future semester. We are committed to doing everything we can to help these students plan for a future that involves Williams-Mystic.

I am continually impressed by the resilience of our students, faculty, and staff. Williams-Mystic is living out its mission in a creative and innovative way during this time. Our faculty members taught four courses remotely to Williams students this fall, including The Global Ocean: An Interdisciplinary Introduction, a course taught by all five Williams-Mystic faculty members. This spring, our faculty will continue to offer a compelling array of courses to Williams students covering topics ranging from ocean biodiversity to British riots. Additionally, we are hard at work preparing for F’21 — working not only to minimize and manage COVID-19-related risks but also to provide our students with a rich, rewarding, and meaningful experience.

May this find you and yours staying healthy and safe in these challenging times.



Tom Van Winkle, PhD

Executive Director of the Williams-Mystic Program