The last week has been action-packed, and I’m excited to share the details with you below. As you can imagine, one of the biggest highlights was my first visit to Tucson. It was a memorable and historic stay, where I got to join our Tucson alumni family to see our Lumberjack football team secure the win over the University of Arizona—our first win against UA since 1932!
- Over the last week, I’ve met with many members of our NAU leadership team in one-on-one and small group meetings to discuss the important work underway and how we can continue to move forward on many fronts. Topics have included our marketing strategies, approaches for indigenous student success, opportunities for development and partnership growth and much more. I am so pleased to have such a dedicated and talented leadership team who works every day to advance our mission and ensure our university can best meet the needs of our students and deliver on our promise of equitable postsecondary value.
- I met with our partners from the City of Flagstaff, Coconino County, Flagstaff Unified School District, Coconino Community College and NAIPTA for the fall kickoff meeting of the Flagstaff Alliance for the Second Century. This community leadership group is an important means of sharing information, best practices and forging new and fruitful collaborations throughout key agencies in Flagstaff to promote education and well-being in our home community. I was pleased to share updates from NAU and learn from our partners.
- On my way to the office on Friday, I stopped in to visit our HRM faculty and students and our partners from Mother Road Brewing right here in Flagstaff to brew some of Mother Road’s 10th Anniversary Ale in our newly inaugurated HRM brewing system. I’m thrilled to have such dedicated partners in the community and look forward to stopping back in a month to taste this new brew!
- Alongside leaders from throughout the state, I joined the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Greater Phoenix Leadership annual CEO Summit: Moving Forward with Purpose. This convening allowed for networking with colleagues and important sessions on legislative action, advancing racial equity and statewide educational plans.
- I attended a convening of the Indigenous Research and Teaching Circle at NAU, where we spoke about how to better serve indigenous students and communities through teaching, research and partnerships. As we advance this core area of our work, I am inspired by the talented individuals who are supporting our students.
- I joined educators from throughout the region at the 2021 Coconino County Teacher of the Year awards. As lifelong educators, Rima and I were honored to share in this celebration of those who give so much to our young people and support all of our futures. NAU and our College of Education are partners in this critical work here in Coconino County and throughout the state of Arizona.
- Saturday brought with it the long but beautiful drive to Tucson. It was worth every minute. I got to meet with many dedicated and enthusiastic members of the NAU alumni family at our pre-game tailgate; I joined my counterpart, President Robert Robbins, who is doing much good work leading the University of Arizona; and, most importantly, I got to witness history and cheer on our Jacks as they beat UA 21-19.
- On Monday, I started my week off by stopping by the Office of Inclusion at NAU to drop off a bilingual edition of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” as part of the Librito Bilingual Book Drive that NAU is participating in as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. I so appreciate all of the initiatives and activities we are doing to celebrate our diverse students and communities as part of this month.
- I met with the faculty, staff and students of NAU’s renowned Center for Health Equity Research. The impactful, interdisciplinary and regionally connected work of this center in service of people and communities throughout the state is impressive. They make a tremendous difference and exemplify the distinctive excellence that is part of NAU’s identity.
- In support of the Flagstaff Family Food Center, I joined many members of our NAU family in preparing meals for our community at the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Thanks to our HRM team for their work. I’m proud of the partnership between our Lumberjacks and the Flagstaff community, as we step up to support those in need.
- Yesterday afternoon, I met with our Campus Safety Culture team to discuss intersections between their work and other important initiatives across our university that aim to foster a safe and healthy living and working environment for us all.
Thank you for reading and for your engagement and enthusiasm. We have a bright future ahead at NAU!
José Luis Cruz Rivera