A Year Like No Other


Ryan Underwood


Daniel Diermeier

A Year Like No Other

The University that was at the heart of the research to discover the vaccines for the pandemic pens the story of how it all happened.

In 2020, as COVID-19 threw the U.S. higher education into turmoil, university administrators around the country debated whether it was prudent—or even possible—to teach students in person or conduct laboratory research amid a once-in-century pandemic. For the leadership at Vanderbilt University, the answer to the question was a resounding yes. Viewing residential education and collaborative research as essential to its academic and societal mission, Vanderbilt was one of a small number of America’s top universities to put rigorous safety protocols in place to allow students, faculty and research personnel back to campus in the fall.

Told with recollections and insights from Vanderbilt’s leaders, students, faculty and staff, and moving at a pace matching the events it describes, A Year Like No Other takes readers from Vanderbilt’s near-shutdown in the spring through its reopening for the 2o20-2021 academic year, providing an inside look at how the university coped not only with COVID-19, but also a tragic night of tornadoes and the urgent calls for racial justice following the killing of George Floyd. The book also highlights some of the vital contributions that faculty at Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have made to the development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, with research fueled in part by a beloved country music legend.

 

About The Authors

Ryan Underwood is the Director of Editorial Strategy at Vanderbilt University and Editor-in-Chief of Vanderbilt Magazine. Prior to that role, he served as Director of Content Strategy for Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, where he oversaw global communications and social media for the school.

Daniel Diermeier is the ninth chancellor of Vanderbilt University, and an internationally renowned political scientist and management scholar.

Diermeier is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research. His teaching and research focus on formal political theory, text analytics, behavioral models of politics, and crisis and reputation management. He has published four books and more than 100 research articles.


Ryan Underwood


Daniel Diermeier