Notes from the President: Dec. 8, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

It has been a busy week since my last update. Below are my highlights as we approach the final days of classes in a most excellent Fall 2022 semester:

  • On Friday, I met with some of our dedicated sustainability leaders on campus—including our student leaders from the Green Fund—to learn more about their activities and discuss next steps in organizing our work to meet our climate action goals. I look forward to sharing more details soon on these endeavors as they come into sharp focus.
  • I also enjoyed an opportunity to connect with our newly recruited Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Deedee Pérez-Granado, who will be joining NAU in 2023 to lead our largest academic college.
  • Following a walk to the Union, I met with transfer students, prospective transfer students and academic and student success teams from Arizona Western College in Yuma, one of our strong community college partners. I’m so pleased to be able to share resources and expertise with our friends at AWC to support the success of students throughout the state.
  • For the evening, I joined faculty, staff, alumni and friends of NAU for a festive tradition—the return of NAU’s Holiday Choral Dinner. The event showcased the immense talent of our Kitt School of Music students, and I enjoyed the beautiful performance and lively conversation with guests throughout the evening.
  • On Sunday, we welcomed many of our friends from the broader Flagstaff community who contribute to the vitality of our region through their work in the public and private sectors. It was a great time to catch up, thank many colleagues and partners for their dedication to this community and look forward to the holidays at all the potential that 2023 holds.
  • Much of my time on Monday and Tuesday was spent in meetings, largely on Zoom, with topics ranging from community relations, strategic initiatives, the Phoenix Bioscience Core, volunteerism, academic affairs, attainment modeling and more. I was pleased to convene and charge the Regents’ professor selection committee on Tuesday afternoon, who will vet applications for this most distinguished faculty honor as we prepare to open applications soon.
  • Tuesday afternoon was a fantastic opportunity for our entire NAU community to come together in celebration and contribute to our Flagstaff community. At my second Holiday Reception for NAU faculty and staff, I got to meet hundreds of dedicated Lumberjacks who came to celebrate, connect with colleagues and give back to local organizations. What a way for us all to kick off the holidays together!
  • Yesterday, I joined our Strategic Enrollment Management working group to review the bold goals they are developing to meet NAU’s vision of broadening access to excellence. This is exciting work that will continue to develop throughout the spring.
  • I also joined Provost Karen Pugliesi and academic leaders throughout NAU for the Academic Leadership Summit. The energy of our academic leadership community around elevating our collective excellence and positively impacting our students and communities is inspiring. Our agenda for academic affairs is bold and ambitious, and I look forward to the work ahead in the new year.
  • Over lunchtime, I got to spend some time relaxing with the staff in my “home” building, Babbitt Administrative Center, on campus for a potluck lunch and a somewhat competitive(!) white elephant gift exchange. After that, I blocked some time to prepare for a guest class visit (taking place this morning) that requires my full attention.

A full agenda lies ahead for this afternoon and tomorrow, and I know next week will be filled with events as we celebrate our December graduates, organize our plans for the final weeks of 2022, and look forward to a much-deserved holiday break and the important work in store for 2023.

I will be participating in the memorial service for Yeon-Su Kim and Corey Allen on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Cline Library Assembly Hall. Anyone from our community who knew Yeon-Su and Corey are welcome to attend to honor their lives and the tremendous impact they had on NAU and Flagstaff.


José Luis Cruz Rivera


NAU Communications