by Eileen Klein, President of the Arizona Board of Regents 

On behalf of the Arizona Board of Regents, we welcome our dedicated and talented Northern Arizona University faculty and staff to the 2014-15 academic year.

Our hope is that everyone enjoyed a summer of learning and discovery – and a little bit of rest – so that we are energized to welcome back our returning students, as well as the incoming Class of 2018.

Thank each and every one of you for your commitment to our world-class public university system. Your hard work contributes greatly to the vibrancy of our higher-education environment and supports the board’s 2020 higher-education objectives, which include increasing bachelor’s degrees by 50 percent, doubling our research activity and making a positive impact on our state.

We want to extend a warm welcome to President Rita Cheng. Northern Arizona University is getting a great leader with impressive higher-education credentials. No doubt President Cheng will build upon the legacy of retiring President John Haeger, who helped build the university into a statewide, technology-savvy academic institution with 30 satellite locations in Arizona.

The Arizona Board of Regents is committed to supporting our university enterprise and to pushing for innovations to make it better, from cutting-edge classrooms and research facilities to improved infrastructure and equipment to support them.

At the heart of this commitment is the “human capital” – you! We attract the best teaching talent, researchers, administrators and staff and you are the key reasons we attract the best students who receive high-value degrees coveted by top employers.

At NAU, students can be assured that their degrees will pay dividends. Your university is known as our “high-country” research institution with one of the strongest undergraduate programs in the West.

As the governing body of our university system, the board recognizes that none of this can be achieved without the universities’ commitment to providing a safe environment where all students can succeed academically. To that end, we want to thank everyone who was involved in the statewide student safety task force during the spring and summer. It was an amazing collaborative effort among leadership at our three universities, student groups, faculty, staff, law enforcement and the communities we serve. So many positive recommendations are already being put into effect.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a short video that is a refreshing visual reminder of the great things we do every day as a university system to “transform Arizona.”

Welcome back!

Read President Klein’s message to students here.