Chancellor shares message regarding Covenant School tragedy; community support sessions announced

Dear Vanderbilt community,

I am horrified and deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries after a shooter opened fire Monday morning at The Covenant School in nearby Green Hills, which serves preschool students through sixth grade. Three children; three adults, including Katherine Koonce, head of the school and a Peabody College alumna; and the shooter were killed, and more were injured.

This is a tragedy for the city of Nashville and its many communities, including here at Vanderbilt—from members of our community who have children, or know children or staff, at Covenant to colleagues and fellow students at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who cared for the victims as well as families with school-age children who are, once again, hearing of an act of violence on school grounds.

As we pause to process today’s events and grieve for the victims, it is important that we care for and support one another. Counseling sessions and meetings have been held across campus, including at Peabody and at Benton Chapel. The following resources also continue to be available to students, faculty, staff and postdocs.


Faculty, Staff and Postdocs

Vanderbilt employees can receive support through Lyra, the university’s mental health services provider. Employees have access to 12 provider sessions through Lyra Health. With Lyra, you can meet with a certified coach or licensed therapist virtually or in person. Benefits-eligible family members also have access to 12 free sessions each. Faculty, staff and postdocs in immediate distress may call the 24-hour Lyra help line at 877-804-2856 or access Lyra through Additional mental health support will be available for Vanderbilt faculty, staff and postdocs on Wednesday, March 29:

  • 9 a.m.–5 p.m. — Individual 30-minute sessions at the Baker Building, Suite 106 (Employee Resource Center)
  •  1–3 p.m. — Group support session (virtual)

Registration information will be available soon on the Health and Wellness website.

Additional resources:

Please note that we have paused the university’s regular and previously scheduled communications as we keep The Covenant School community in our thoughts.


Daniel Diermeier
Chancellor, Vanderbilt University

Community support sessions

Tuesday, March 28

  • Student Center for Social Justice and Identity session, 2–4 p.m., Multicultural Lounge
  • Peabody session for student teachers, 6–7 p.m., Mayborn 117

Wednesday, March 29

  • Graduate School session, noon–1 p.m., Alumni Hall Memorial Room
  • International students and scholars session, 3:30–5 p.m., ISSS house
  • School of Medicine session, 5:30 p.m., Eskind 238