Spalding President Tori Murden McClure sent the following message to the campus community on Monday, March 22, 2021:

Dear Spalding Community,

There is no more joyful and momentous occasion at Spalding University than Commencement. That’s why I am happy to announce that we will be safely returning to in-person Commencement activities this year, conducting a series of smaller graduation ceremonies on campus the first week of June that will be divided up by academic discipline. Provost Burden and I will attend each ceremony to confer degrees.

In addition to our 2021 graduates, 2020 graduates will also be invited back to participate in this year’s Commencement if they would like.

The individual ceremonies also will be streamed online for those who want or need to watch from home.

Here are additional Commencement details:

Dates and times
In order to avoid heavy crowds and traffic at any one time, the ceremonies will be held one at a time and scheduled throughout the day on Thursday, June 3; Friday, June 4; and Saturday, June 5. They likely will be held indoors at the Columbia Gym Auditorium, the College Street Ballroom or the Troutman Lectorium of the Egan Leadership Center.

Graduates should expect to receive more information soon from your school or academic program about the specific time, date and location that applies to you.

Masks required
The ceremonies will be conducted in accordance with local and state safety guidelines and by the standards we have set for our own university.

All attendees must be symptom-free and will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing outside of their immediate family/group.

To further ensure that our commencement activities are as safe as possible, we strongly encourage everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible. Gov. Beshear announced last week that he expects all Kentuckians 16 years and older to be able to sign up for vaccines starting April 12.

Two guests per graduate
In order to ensure safe distancing between attendees, each graduate will be limited to two guests.

Some programs will have a virtual Commencement
Two academic programs – the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and the School of Creative and Professional Writing – will be having virtual Commencement ceremonies instead of in person.

Plan to order regalia
Graduates should plan to order graduation regalia. Spalding’s Campus Store will be handling regalia orders through the vendor Jostens, and more information about purchasing will be sent soon. The Campus Store is located on the south end of the ELC, 901 S. Fourth St., and can be reached at (502) 585-7108 or at [email protected].

The Registrar will also send information with instructions and deadlines for applying for graduation. Be on the lookout for that in the coming weeks.

We are excited that these smaller ceremonies will safely provide our graduates with a memorable, meaningful day of recognition and celebration after all that they’ve accomplished.

Thank you and congratulations to both the Class of 2021 and Class of 2020. We can’t wait to see you walk across the stage in your cap and gown while sharing the experience with your loved ones and the classmates, faculty and staff you know best.

All the best,

Tori Murden McClure
President, Spalding University

Consistent with its mission of promoting peace and justice through education, Spalding University announced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that it is launching an online training and professional development program in antiracism.

Available nationally to individuals and groups from public-sector, corporate and nonprofit organizations, the range of half- and full-day online courses – collectively titled Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey – will teach concepts of cultural humility and restorative practices as a means to bring about positive social change.

Enrollment is open now for Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey with live virtual sessions set to start in late January. It is the first featured offering of a reorganized interdisciplinary institute of social justice-themed training at Spalding – called The Well – that will be housed in the School of Social Work. Visit to register.

Spalding’s Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey is designed and facilitated by faculty and staff leaders of the university’s Center for Peace and Spiritual Renewal, School of Social Work, School of Professional Psychology and Collective Care Center, which is one of the nation’s only behavioral health clinics to specialize in treating race-based trauma and stress.

REGISTER | Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey courses now available on The Well

The faculty and staff serving as facilitators for the program are among Louisville’s leading scholars on matters of restorative practices and dialogue, conflict resolution, polarity management, cultural humility, institutional oppression and racial trauma.

“This program is designed for individuals and groups who are interested in meaningfully and constructively addressing and healing race relations in their professional and personal lives through self-exploration, truth-telling, difficult dialogue and action,” said Spalding Executive Director for Peace and Spiritual Renewal Chandra Irvin, who helped lead the Charleston (South Carolina) Illumination Project of community conversations and healing following the tragic shooting of nine Black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in 2015. “The Spalding faculty and staff who have collaborated to create this program have a great deal of experience in these spaces and bring a diverse set of perspectives. Organizations that participate in this training at Spalding will be making a valuable investment that demonstrates a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Certified in 2011 as the World’s First Compassionate University, Spalding is a historic, private institution that has been located for 100 years in downtown Louisville – which, as the hometown of Breonna Taylor, saw months of demonstrations last year in the name of racial justice, including several that took place on or near Spalding’s campus.

“Spalding’s mission states that we are a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times by promoting peace and justice through education and service,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “As the past year has shown, pain and suffering from racial injustice and inequity remain prevalent in our society. Offering the Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey training program is an example of Spalding meeting the needs of the times by using the experience, wisdom and teaching skills of our faculty and staff to help promote a more equitable world.”

Upon completion, participants in Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey will be awarded three tiers of certification badges by Spalding – Bronze, Silver and Ebony (highest level) – based on the number of sessions completed, and these credentials will be appropriate to share on resumes and online professional profiles. Completed hours in the program can be applied to continuing education requirements for social workers, and Spalding plans to seek approval for continuing education credits from other professions’ governance boards in the future.

“Spalding’s School of Social Work has a rich tradition of providing quality continuing education for practitioners and community members throughout Kentucky,” School of Social Work Chair Dr. Shannon Cambron said. “The Well is the next chapter for us. It’s a reflection of our commitment to meet the needs of the times by co-creating an interdisciplinary space of training and engagement with a justice and equity lens – a space that equips people with the skills to begin the work of dismantling white supremacy and injustice. Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey is evidence of that commitment, and we are excited about this new chapter.”

For more information on participating in Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey, visit

Rachel Platt serves as the Director of Community Engagement for the Frazier History Museum. She is a former reporter and anchor for WHAS-11. This essay originally appeared in Frazier’s newsletter.

I have followed her story for more than 20 years, but I am still in awe of Tori Murden McClure.

I am too old to be a fan girl, really, but I never grow too old to appreciate strong women who teach and inspire me — and Tori does both.

Of course, Tori is now the President of Spalding University.

But it was back in 1999, while working for WHAS-TV, that photographer Doug Smith and I flew to Guadeloupe to cover Tori stepping ashore, becoming the first woman, and first American, to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, completing a 3,300-mile trek.

VIDEOS | Frazier Museum — Tori Murden’s Solo Row Across the Atlantic Ocean, 1999 (1 of 2) | Frazier Museum — Tori Murden’s Solo Row Across the Atlantic Ocean, 1999 (2 of 2)

I had done other stories leading up to her 81 days at sea. I had even covered her “failed” attempt the year before, when Hurricane Danielle intervened and the ship Independent Spirit had to pick her up after her boat, The American Pearl, had capsized multiple times.


MUSICAL | Dawn Landes’ album ROW, with songs from the musical she co-wroteMusical ROW from Williamstown Theatre Festival will premiere on Audible

How ironic, huh, that a ship named Independent Spirit plucked Tori out of the water, since her independent spirit is what led her to try again.

As Tori tells it, we all have oceans to cross, and stories to tell. She just decided to literally cross an ocean and literally write a book about her story and journey in life.

She challenges us all to be the best we’re capable of being — that being is more important than doing.

The boat she built, The American Pearl, is now at the Frazier as part of our Cool Kentucky exhibit. It was, of course, Tori who helped do the calculations to get it inside the door, with about a half inch to spare on each side!

It is a full circle moment for me with The Pearl docking here, a daily dose of inspiration in our Great Hall to weather any storm on the horizon.

Rachel Platt 1999 Story No. 1

Rachel Platt 1999 Story No. 2

American Pearl arrives at the Frazier

Dawn Landes discusses her musical ROW, based on Tori’s life

Dear Spalding Community,

As we head toward the end of the academic session, I would like to continue to thank all of our students, faculty and staff for your resilience and dedication so far this year. I can’t commend our students enough for your cooperation, graciousness and flexibility in helping to keep our campus safe and healthy while staying on top of your academics.

The hard work of everyone is appreciated, and the upcoming session break and Thanksgiving holiday will be a welcomed chance to relax. I hope everyone has a truly restful holiday.

Sadly, however, as we begin the holidays, this pandemic persists, and our country has seen an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases.

Over Thanksgiving, I urge you to please take every precaution to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe and well. Carefully weigh the risks of travel, of going out to a mall or restaurant, of socializing with multiple households. Gov. Beshear on Wednesday issued new public health measures to slow the spread of the virus. Please take heed of those guidelines, and continue to follow the news to see what other actions government officials may take.

Remember also to abide by the tenets of the Spalding Promise that we all signed at the start of the year and which still applies during the break. We have all committed to:

  • Avoid large gatherings and parties.
  • Wear a mask at all times when indoors, or when in groups outdoors.
  • Practice social distancing at all times.

When classes resume on Nov. 30, we must be more diligent than ever to work together in keeping campus safe and healthy.

Students, keep in mind that every in-person class will be streamed, in case you want or need to participate online. This may be a wise option for many.

Additionally, students, employees and visitors must continue to complete the #CampusClear self-assessment before coming to campus.

The recent news about the development of vaccines is very promising. We have come this far, so let’s continue to work together to get through this, especially at this critical time.

I am thankful for all of you and for the privilege of serving this institution.

Have a great, safe and restful break, and Happy Thanksgiving. You deserve it.


All the best,

Tori Murden McClure

Spalding University President


Dear Spalding Community,

As you may have heard, the Kentucky Attorney General announced today that three charges of wanton endangerment will be brought against one Louisville Metro Police Department officer involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. Two other officers in the case were not charged.

Individuals in our campus community may disagree with the findings of the grand jury. For some of you, particularly the Black members of our community, today’s news may be traumatic if you believe justice has not been served. For those who are hurting, who are sad, who are angry, who need a human connection to get through this trying time, please know that the community at Spalding is here to support you.

An Emotional and Support Response Team will be holding a series of in-person and online gatherings today and tomorrow (Thursday, Sept. 24) that were detailed in an email.

We anticipate that today’s decision from the grand jury will inspire protests against racial injustice. It would be no surprise if the protests are larger than the daily demonstrations that have occurred downtown this summer, and it is possible that they may extend to the streets of our campus.

As we announced earlier today, all remaining face-to-face classes today have been moved online as a precaution, due to the potential large crowds and impact on traffic downtown.

Classes to stay online-only Thursday and Friday
We have since made the decision to keep all face-to-face classes online-only the next two days – Thursday, Sept. 24, Friday, Sept. 25. Students in clinical or practicum placements should contact their program director or chair for guidance.

Employees who are not essential to the care and service of our residential students should plan to work from home for the remainder of the week.

If you are still on campus or heading downtown, please be aware of the situation as police have restricted vehicle access from Market to Broadway and Second Street to Roy Wilkins, north of our campus. It is important to note that the majority of protests this summer have been peaceful and lawful, and most often they have occurred about a mile from campus. However, if it makes you feel safer, avoid or leave campus.

Campus safety steps
At this time, we are not aware of any danger and are not fully closing campus, but we will take precautions to ensure the safety of our students and employees during what is likely to be a period of high emotion and unpredictability in our city.

  • Exterior doors to campus buildings may be locked and accessible only by a key or, where applicable, an Eagle Card ID. Please wear your Eagle Card ID as a badge, and if you don’t have a key to a particular building that may be locked, you should coordinate with someone inside to let you in when you arrive, or call Campus Safety at 502-873-4444.
  • Campus Safety officers will be present at both residence halls and stationed at key areas around campus.
  • Boxed meals will be delivered to students in the residence halls at 6 tonight, and food service to the halls will continue in the coming days.
  • Any member of the campus community may call Campus Safety at 502-873-4444 to report concerns, to have an officer assist you to your car or about campus, or to help you get in a building.

As a compassionate institution devoted to social justice, Spalding will continue to support calls for justice and peaceful and lawful protests. This is a moment in time that requires strong, courageous voices, and we will support any members of our community who wish to protest peacefully, lawfully and safely and have their voices heard.

For those who may wish to participate, we encourage you to return before dark. As a reminder, a county-wide curfew has been issued starting at 9 tonight.

Please continue to check your email as we will share any important information regarding conditions on campus. Also, if you have not already, make sure you sign up for Spalding’s E2Campus alerts to be sent to your phone or email.

Stay safe, stay strong. We support you.

All the best,

Tori Murden McClure

President, Spalding University

Dear Spalding Community,

As you may be aware, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected at some point in the near future to announce a decision on whether or not charges will be brought against the Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

The Attorney General has given no timeline for an announcement, but LMPD, as well as downtown businesses and federal buildings, have begun preparing for possible large-scale protests. LMPD announced overnight that it would be restricting vehicle traffic and limiting surface parking from Market to Broadway and Second Street to Roy Wilkins, and it has assembled vehicle barriers around Jefferson Square Park. The LMPD restrictions are taking place north of our campus, so Spalding’s campus will remain open and operating on a normal schedule until the day of the Attorney General’s decision, whenever it may come. Please use caution and allow extra time if you are traveling downtown.

We do not know what Attorney General Cameron will announce, but it is safe to assume that countless people in Louisville and around the nation will be watching and will have strong emotional reactions, no matter the outcome. Whenever the announcement comes, there could be large demonstrations downtown that affect traffic, and it’s possible that protests could approach or even pass through the streets of our campus.

Tentative plan for Spalding
At Spalding, we have prepared a series of tentative, precautionary measures for the day the announcement comes down. These plans are subject to change. So that you can be prepared and informed, our tentative plan includes the following:

  • All face-to-face classes will move online for the remainder of the day after the Attorney General’s announcement is made. No matter the outcome, we feel the potential disruption to roadways downtown could make a trip to campus too difficult to manage.
  • Faculty, please prepare for the possibility that your face-to-face classes may temporarily switch to an online format. Please determine the best method for accomplishing this, and plan to communicate any changes to your students.
  • Faculty and staff who work on campus and are not essential to the security and care of our residential students, please speak with your supervisor about a plan to finish your work day at home on the day of the Attorney General’s announcement.
  • Be aware that exterior doors to campus buildings may be locked and accessible only with a key or, where applicable, an Eagle Card ID.
  • Campus Safety officers will be stationed in both residence halls and several other key areas around campus. Campus Safety is always available at 502-873-4444 to assist you as you walk to your car or move about campus.
  • Group and individual support from faculty and staff will be available in person and online for those who wish to process with others after the announcement. At any point, students may contact Counseling and Psychological Services at [email protected] or the Center for Peace and Spiritual Renewal at [email protected] .
  • Decisions about classes and campus operations in the days following the Attorney General’s announcement will be made on those days.

We will communicate to the campus via the Omnilert E2Campus alert system and through Spalding email. If you haven’t done so, please register to receive the campus alerts at this link:

Students, please communicate your questions and concerns to your instructor, program director, academic chair or academic dean, or the Dean of Students. Employees, please do the same with your supervisor.

We will continue to share updates and information, so continue to check your Spalding email.

This is undoubtedly a tense, uncertain moment for our city. It is also a historic, pivotal moment, rooted in the fight for social justice. We have been inspired by those protesters who have marched peacefully and lawfully for months against racial injustice, and we will continue to support calls for justice.

All the best,

Tori Murden McClure
Spalding University President

Dear Spalding Community,

We are now less than two weeks away from the start of the fall semester, and we can’t wait to welcome our students back to campus.

The safety of our students, faculty and staff has been and will remain our top priority. For months, we have been planning and implementing protocols for the safe return to campus and the resumption of face-to-face instruction. I am pleased to share those plans with you today.

A new Healthy Together at Spalding section of our website has been created that includes our comprehensive Return to Campus Plan. Please read and refer often to the following pages:

These pages, which will be updated as needed, provide information and resources while aiming to drive home the importance of the key, mandatory steps we all must take to reopen campus safely. Those include:

  • Mask-wearing.
  • Social distancing and the safe configuration of spaces.
  • Cleaning and hand-washing.
  • Daily health self-assessments through the #CampusClear app.
  • Following government public health guidelines.
  • Signing the Spalding Promise pledge to act responsibly and cooperatively in order protect yourself and our entire campus community.

I would like to thank members of the Coordinating Committee for the Return to Campus, chaired by Chief of Staff/Dean of Operations Chris Hart, for the immense amount of time and thought they have put into our preparations for the fall and for helping produce this plan. I also thank all other members of our faculty and staff for their input and the planning they have done for respective departments.

We have also have sent message with more information about downloading and using the #CampusClear app – which will be needed for daily health assessments and potential contact tracing – and about signing the Spalding Promise pledge on the Portal.

Student Town Hall Thursday
I welcome our students to join us online for a Back-to-School Student Town Hall at noon this Thursday, Aug. 13 to discuss our plans for the fall and to take your questions. Information about what to expect at the town hall and all the instructions on joining the call are available on the Back-to-School Student Town Hall Meeting Set for Aug. 13 blog post. That same message was also sent via email and an Outlook calendar invite last Friday, Aug. 7.

This will be our campus’ 100th year in downtown Louisville, and it will be different from every year before it. That doesn’t mean it won’t be great. We will work together to succeed, to stay safe and to keep carrying out the Spalding mission of learning and compassion.

All the best,

Tori Murden McClure
Spalding University President

Dear Spalding Community,

We are about a month away from the start of fall classes at Spalding on Aug. 24, and we couldn’t be more excited for the safe reopening of our campus. This year, in particular, after all our country has gone through, we are energized and inspired by our incoming first-year and returning students, and we can’t wait for your arrival.

As we prepare for our reopening while the COVID-19 pandemic persists, you can be assured that Spalding will continue to make the safety of our students, faculty and staff our top priority.

Led by Chief of Staff and Dean of Operations Chris Hart, our Return to Campus Committee has been meeting regularly and devising a comprehensive plan that will be shared by the first week of August.

Additionally, we’ll soon share a Spalding Promise pledge that all members of the university community who plan to be on campus must sign. This is an important social contract that shows we are all on the same page and working together compassionately to protect ourselves, each other and our larger community as it relates to mask-wearing, social distancing and disclosing when we are experiencing symptoms.

Here are some of the key measures we are taking to ensure the safe reopening of campus:

  • For each academic session, classes will be offered in three primary formats – in-person, online and a hybrid of those two. Because most of our courses are offered in six-week sessions instead of full semesters, we have the flexibility to quickly adjust classes during a term or before the next term. Web cameras will stream every in-person class, meaning that any student who prefers to or needs to participate from home will be able to do so. If public health conditions make it necessary to move in-person classes fully online, we will do that.
  • Our academic and operational leaders have reviewed every classroom and learning space on campus and reconfigured rooms to ensure social distancing. Maximum room capacities have been lowered to meet guidelines for social distancing and crowd sizes.
  • Face coverings must be worn indoors at all times, except for when you’re alone in private offices and residential rooms. Masks are also strongly encouraged in outdoor settings in which you’re near others. A free Spalding-branded cloth mask will be provided to every employee and student while supplies last. Disposable cloth masks will also be available. Free plastic face shields will be available for those who must interact with others within six feet.
  • Every person coming to campus must complete and pass a daily online health self-assessment. This quick assessment will ask basic questions about your temperature, potential symptoms and potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • All students will be strongly encouraged to download a campus public health app that will be used for submitting the health self-assessments and assisting in contact tracing should a positive case occur on campus. This app will protect personal privacy and confidentiality.
  • Wayfinding and directional signage to promote social distancing are being installed in buildings across campus.
  • Sanitation of campus spaces will be a top priority of our housekeeping staff. Anti-viral cleaning solution and wipes will be available in classrooms across campus, and hand sanitizer dispensers are set up in every building.
  • All students living in the residence halls will have a room to themselves while only being charged the less expensive double-occupancy rate.
  • Campus dining will no longer include self-serve options, and students will have dedicated hours of access to dining facilities.
  • Nearly all staff members who are able to do so will continue to work from home in order to reduce the number of people in any given building.

Never hesitate to reach out to the Dean of Students, your academic advisor, a member of the faculty, your athletic coach or our financial aid staff with your questions about this fall. If you have not registered for fall classes, we encourage you to do so on WebAdvisor.

We will continue to follow health guidelines set by state and local government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a fluid time for our country and our campus, and when it’s necessary to adjust, we will. Our success this year will require cooperation, flexibility and patience from everyone, and I know we will succeed.  We are a compassionate university, and we will work together to have a great, safe year.

All the best,


Tori Murden McClure
Spalding University President

President McClure’s June 17 announcement on reopening 
President McClure creates Return to Campus Committee – May 28
Return to Campus/COVID-19 resource page

Dear Spalding Community,

Thanks to the diligent work of many, I am pleased to announce that Spalding University will welcome students back to campus this fall.

Led by Chief of Staff and Dean of Operations Chris Hart, the Coordinating Committee for the Return to Campus has been meeting regularly to plan for the safe reopening of campus for in-class instruction, housing, athletics and other campus activities. The Return to Campus committee will issue a report in the coming weeks with guidelines for the Spalding Community.

All aspects of how the University operates will be in the context of ensuring the health and wellness of our students, faculty, staff and visitors, following guidance from state and local officials. This will include considerations for personal protective equipment and the safe configuring of classrooms, labs, residence halls, athletic facilities and other campus spaces.

Some initial updates:

  • Fall classes will include courses that are face-to-face, hybrid and online.
  • Web cameras will be in seated classes so that students who do not feel comfortable attending class in person will have the option to participate from home.
  • Leaders from Athletics and Residence Life have been working on protocols for safely welcoming student-athletes and residential students back to campus.
  • For several weeks, Spalding University’s Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility (CORF) has been operating and seeing clients in a safe manner, and its successful reopening will serve as a model for other clinical and lab settings around campus.

We look forward to sharing additional updates from the planning committee.

We encourage our current and incoming students to move forward with registering for fall courses in anticipation of our return. We can’t wait to see our students again this fall.

May you, and all those you love, be well.

All the best,

Tori Murden McClure
Spalding University President

March 11, 2020

Dear Spalding Community,

We have been closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and meeting daily to discuss contingency plans. Our responses to COVID-19 will remain fluid, but one constant is that the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our paramount concern. At this time, there is no known case of COVID-19 on our campus. To do our part to prevent the spread of the virus, however, we are implementing the following:

• Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Spalding University will move all face-to-face classes online. At this time, face-to-face classes are scheduled to resume on April 6, 2020; this date is subject to change.  If you are on session break next week, the move to online classes will apply to the start of the new term on Monday, March 23, 2020.

• For students in the residence halls who have access to personal computers or technology and can connect to the internet away from campus, we encourage you to go home as soon as your Session 4 classes end. Please do not return to campus until April 4, 2020, unless otherwise notified.

• Students who do not have access to technology off campus are welcome to return to campus where computer technology will be available in the library and in a number of other campus locations. Only students who are symptom-free and have no fever will be permitted to use on-campus facilities. You may be subject to a temperature check. Sanitizer will be available to wipe down computers between users.

• By Friday, March 13, 2020, we will have forms to determine your needs for housing and technology.

Faculty and staff should report to campus unless you make different arrangements with your supervisor or are exhibiting symptoms. During this time, supervisors will be flexible and continue to accommodate reasonable requests.

We recognize the potential hardship this could cause to our campus community and we appreciate your patience and support as we work through this together.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update the campus community regularly. Please refer to this webpage and your email for continual updates.

All the best,


Tori Murden McClure
President, Spalding University