Notes from the President: Feb. 17, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

Last Thursday, I shared my notes as we stood poised to begin an important meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents, with some key items on the agenda for NAU. That meeting was a milestone in our work, as several efforts that have been in development for the past few months converged for approval by ABOR. I was pleased to share the results of that meeting on Tuesday in my message to the NAU community. We are equipped with strong support for our mission, with funding to advance our priorities and policies that enable us to provide access now in place. There is a great deal of work ahead, but I am more confident than ever of the bold direction we are pursuing at NAU to bring equitable postsecondary value to students and communities in Arizona and beyond.

  • Following the ABOR meeting, I joined colleagues in wishing some of our Regents well in their future endeavors: Regent Bill Ridenour, whose term concludes this spring, and Regents Karrin Taylor Robson and Kathryn Hackett King, who have taken on new challenges and stepped away from the board.
  • With our announcement of new admissions policies at the ABOR meeting, I enjoyed several conversations on the topic with Arizona media. The interest in this new initiative is clear, and I was pleased to outline the reasons behind it as we seek to provide clear pathways for access to success for all students in our state.
  • Our Lumberjacks had reason to celebrate on the athletics front last week as both our men’s and women’s basketball teams surged to victories against the University of Montana. As we head into the home stretch of the season, I’m already looking forward to the Big Sky basketball tournament in early March.
  • Over the weekend, Rima and I enjoyed Theatrikos’s production of “12 Angry Jurors.” We are lucky to have a vibrant arts and cultural community in Flagstaff that enhances and mutually supports our great work at NAU.
  • Monday was both Valentine’s Day and Statehood Day. I could think of no better way of celebrating the anniversary of Arizona’s statehood than by working for this great university with a clear purpose of driving attainment, success, and prosperity for our state’s population. And my day’s work was fueled by some delectable Valentine’s treats, courtesy of our most excellent social media team.
  • I appreciated the opportunity to visit with the dedicated and impressive team at NAU’s Institute for Human Development (IHD). The passion of the faculty and staff at IHD is clear, and I’m excited for the great work they have underway.
  • I met with some valued partners in the local and regional behavioral health care space as we seek to expand partnerships that benefit our students and the local communities in which we live and work.
  • also launched a new phase of work, and part of my day was spent with statewide colleagues at Greater Phoenix Leadership’s Higher Education Task Force discussing the ways in which we can support our students and our state through clear and empowering pathways to higher levels of attainment. The path is long, but the work ahead is important and inspiring!
  • Yesterday, I spent time with one of our Regents, visited with national partners for conversations around equitable postsecondary value and access for underrepresented students, and joined our University Graduate Committee’s meeting to share more about the vision for our future and the importance of graduate education in all that we do.

This has been an eventful week for NAU, and I am proud and thankful for the support and dedication of our community. We have accomplished much, and much more is on the way!


José Luis Cruz Rivera

NAU Communications