Sunday, November 22, 2020

2020 has been a year like no other. Undoubtedly, every single member of the Hawkeye family has felt the effects of COVID-19 in one way or another.

The University of Iowa campus has been largely unrecognizable, empty halls and sidewalks for months at a time, and UI President Bruce Harreld announced a loss of $76 million in revenue from March to August. The financial picture for the college is less dire for now, as it has seen its MAc enrollment grow and Online MBA enrollment explode.

Here are the 2020 experiences of a few Tippie faculty, students, and alumni—messages sure to be a time capsule for generations to come.

"I didn't have the heart to look in on the Biz Hub."

Mary Murphy
Tippie College of Business
Accounting Lecturer

“Following the announcement that we would not be returning to in-person classes after spring break, I recall going into the Pappajohn Business Building to retrieve a few resources for teaching online. The building itself was eerily silent, which was in complete juxtaposition to its prior vibrant student atmosphere. I didn’t have the heart to look in on the BizHub, where students had previously gathered to study, collaborate, and drink coffee. I look forward to the day the pandemic is behind us and student voices again resonate in the Tippie College of Business.”

"I'm proud to say United's immediate actions were focused on safety."

Michelle Worley (BBA07)
United Airlines
Director, Customer Experience Onboard

“As the virus spread, we saw an immediate and steep decline in demand for airline travel (to almost zero). I am proud to say United’s immediate actions were focused on safety. We have changed our service to cut down on physical touch points onboard,  partnered with Clorox to define our cleaning and disinfection procedures, added personal protective equipment, and are working closely with the experts at the Cleveland Clinic to ensure our policies prioritize everyone’s wellbeing. In addition, our finance leaders
began working to secure the funding, which was needed for the company to survive this. United may be a smaller airline after this, but will work hard to get our customers back onboard and enjoying their travel experience safely as we recover!”

"2020 will be known as the year of three tax seasons"

Mark Vander Veen (BBA20)
Incoming MAc student

“When my internship at RSM moved online, I was genuinely surprised. I’m glad I had the opportunity to work face-to-face with the full-time staff for the two months that I did. So much of my decision to accept a full-time offer with them post-graduation was based on office culture—you can’t get that same feel when your office is also your bedroom. Immediately following my internship, I began my grad appointment for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. We had to work in lockstep with the university and the IRS to move our program online as swiftly and efficiently as possible. By the July 15 deadline, I had prepared over 100 returns—all virtually, as well as countless more before the onset of the pandemic. As I look towards the October 15 extension deadline, 2020 will be known as the year of three tax seasons.”

"I miss the feeling of community the office provides."

Blake Scott (MAc19)
Ernst & Young
Technology Risk Consultant

“I’m thankful for EY’s support through the obstacles we’ve faced transitioning to working from home. After a few desk iterations, I have a great home office setup that allows me to be productive throughout the day. The firm has been clear that, as long as we
complete our tasks and there aren’t meetings, we can go for a run/walk/bike ride in the middle of the day. That little break can really help with those afternoon slumps. One of the hardest parts of working from home has been unplugging from work when my ‘office’ is right over my shoulder in my one bedroom apartment. While working from home has increased flexibility in my schedule, I miss the feeling of community the office provides.”


This article first appeared in the 2020 issue of Iowa Ledger