Message from the President on Hurricane Sandy

Barbara Gellman-Danley, Ph.D.

October 31, 2012

At a time when devastation wreaks havoc on our neighboring states and country, we must all pause to think about our fellow human beings. I am certain each of you is concerned and saddened about the horrible consequences of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath in the past few days. No amount of preparation prepares us for such disastrous circumstances.

Several years ago I attended a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Council on Education (A.C.E.) on the topic of Hurricane Katrina. The presidents of several colleges and universities reminded the audience that there were mitigating circumstances that heightened the problems and created pure havoc. One university president noted that his campus was completely under water, thereby knocking out all communication with his executive staff. He told us very strongly to buy satellite phones to assure that communication continues with key leadership. We all listened in silence and awe at what they faced – and in the spirit of America – overcame.

I have personally checked on friends and family in my home state of New York. One cousin told me this is the third major storm within the past seven years, and she is simply worn out by the damage. No one can get to work from her home on Long Island, and her basement is filled with water. She reported that her street “is a river.” I simply cried reading her email, which she was able to write due to a generator purchased last year.

Members of the Rio family, it is time to set aside political partisanship and other issues to focus on what we can do to help. Below is a listing of potential organizations that are accepting donations. I encourage you to come up with ideas of projects where we can do something like adopt a community or college and send them supplies or anything to show we care. Please send me your ideas at

I spoke last night to my friend who is president of a college in New Jersey. She was in her office warming up and doing work as her home is completely without power, and will be for a very long time. I offered to help, but she simply had no idea what anyone could do – making the call lifted her spirit. That was a start.

Thank you in advance for your ideas, commitment to your values, faith and consideration of others. It is, indeed, time to look far beyond ourselves and do whatever we can to help.

Barbara Gellman-Danley, Ph.D.

American Red Cross