Notes from the President: Dec. 15, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

Thank you for another amazing semester! We are poised to celebrate our December graduates, with the nursing pinning ceremony and the Lumberjacks of Inclusion convocation this evening and our two commencement ceremonies tomorrow. The Skydome is ready, and we are excited to host our graduates and their families and friends. This time of year also means we are all ready for a much-needed break to rest and rejuvenate. Before we begin the holiday celebrations in earnest, here are my notes from an eventful past week:

  • On Thursday, I began the day with a visit to Political Science 380 to engage with students sharing their presentations on climate change and foreign affairs policies. This semester has been a busy one for me, and I haven’t had the opportunity to visit as many classes, so this was a refreshing and energizing way to end the academic year. Thanks to professor Paul Lenze for the opportunity.
  • The balance of the day was spent in meetings in my office and over Zoom on topics ranging from the latest developments of the NAU-led Arizona Attainment Alliance to business and industry partnerships to strategic planning.
  • Friday, I joined members of my leadership team and one of our external partners to engage in important discovery work related to how we can expand access and boost college-going aspirations to keep more students on track for college. I then transitioned to an interview, lunch with Provost Karen Pugliesi and a COE student winner from the spring “There’s a Reason I’m a Teacher” conference and a meeting with a national education board.
  • Closing out the day, I joined the team in NAU’s Center for International Education and our many international and study abroad students for the kickoff to fall graduation festivities: the International Graduation Celebration. What an accomplished group of Lumberjacks ready to engage and contribute to a better future!
  • Saturday morning, I came to campus for the Institute for Native-serving Educators (INE) showcase and open house. This is an incredible program for Native educators to convene at NAU and celebrate the accomplishments of educators in four INE programs that collectively serve the entire state. I was pleased to join as the program kicked off to affirm our commitment to this important work that is so closely aligned with our mission and strategic priorities.
  • In the afternoon, many from our NAU and Flagstaff community came together to celebrate the lives of Yeon-Su Kim and Corey Allen, who tragically passed away in November. Together, they left a profound legacy at our institution and throughout the community and we will forever cherish their memory.
  • One of the major milestones of this week was Tuesday morning’s University Advisory Board meeting, the group’s final convening of 2022. We reflected on an eventful year, engaged in robust discussion around several key topics—the findings of the Academic Calendar Taskforce, bold goals for our Strategic Enrollment Management Plan and efforts to advance sustainability and achieve carbon neutrality at NAU—before turning to updates from our representative groups on their achievements from the fall and priorities for the spring.
  • Later in the day, the Arizona Board of Regents convened via Zoom, followed by a meeting with members of the Flagstaff community.
  • Yesterday, the President’s Cabinet also held its capstone meeting for the semester, with a wide-ranging agenda to prepare our leadership team to meet the strategic opportunities before us in 2023. The afternoon was spent with statewide business leaders, elected officials, education leaders and funding partners.

With the holidays ahead and a week with more time held for reflection and preparation next week, I will take a break from notes until the New Year. I also want to make you aware that I have taken a sabbatical from Twitter and invite all of you to follow me on Instagram and/or LinkedIn.

I am excited for the celebratory events taking place today and tomorrow and look forward to seeing many of our students, faculty and staff out on campus. Until my next update, thank you for all you do to advance the work of our most noble institution and best wishes for a healthy and happy 2023!

José Luis Cruz Rivera

NAU Communications