The man with a plan: Wilkes president’s first year at the helm fraught with challenges amid pandemic

Back to School with Eyewitness News

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) Reopening schools in a safe and targeted fashion is a challenge in and of itself. The first year being at the helm of a university, on top of that? That’s what’s facing Greg Cant, the new president of Wilkes University.

“I do not remember anyone saying, guess what, the world will almost collapse and we’ll shut everything down–universities around the country will have to get a lock down and, and the economy will collapse just a couple of modest things,” said Cant.

It’s been a trying time since schools saw a major shutdown in march due to COVID-19. Faculty, staff and administrators have been working around the clock to make sure they’ve got the best plan to see this school year through.

“As early as last February is when we started meeting as a coronavirus task force to prepare our response and how we would move forward,” said vice president of student affairs and previous acting university president, Paul Adams.

Wrapping up his duties with Montclair State University as dean of the Feliciano School of Business, Dr. Gregory Cant heads into his first year as university president and admitted it’s not what he expected but he’s up to it.

“As a leader, the test of leadership is in challenges not in all the sweet good days,” said Cant. “So, we have to stand up for challenges.”

Many on campus are confident in cant and the plan for this year.

“Communicating to the campus the importance of following the guidelines and being sure that we do everything we can so that assure that we can stay here,” noted Adams.

New and returning ‘Colonels’ adapting with precaution.

“We want to maintain the closest to a normal circumstances possible, given there still a global pandemic,” Cant said.

A student body and those leading the effort? Excited to be back, but understanding some things may be out of their control.

“None of us were around to see the last major pandemic the Spanish flu so we don’t have a mindset we couldn’t have guessed this only a few months ago,” added Cant. “So what’s going to happen next? You’ve got to be uncertain.”

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