Notes from the President: March 2, 2023

Dear Lumberjacks,

As we work through yet another incredibly snowy week in Flagstaff, I am thankful for the dedication of so many in our NAU community for all they have done this winter. In particular, I want to share my appreciation for our faculty who have adapted to help keep students progressing in their studies and for our facilities and custodial teams who have gone above and beyond, time and again, to get our campus ready for operations. I am hopeful that as we approach spring break the winter weather will subside and lead to a glorious Flagstaff spring.

Over the last week, I’ve spent most days on the road engaging with our partners and supporters in Phoenix, and today I am wrapping up several days of meetings in Washington, D.C.

  • Last Thursday, I spent much of the day meeting with our state’s elected officials at the Arizona Capitol, engaged in conversations about how we are contributing to the state’s economic vitality and health through exceptional academic programs and impactful research and service.
  • In the afternoon, I was joined by Governor Hobbs, Phoenix Mayor Gallego, leaders in the state’s healthcare industry, and more for a celebration of 10 years of excellence for NAU at the Phoenix Bioscience Core (PBC). This celebration was a time to reflect on our achievements and to look forward to our ambitious plans to drive community health in every corner of the state through our physical and behavioral healthcare programs. NAU is a leader in serving the state’s healthcare needs and I look forward to working with our partners to grow our positive impact for Arizona.
  • Friday I met with several philanthropic leaders and supporters of NAU, whose partnership helps advance our mission.
  • Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the Regents’ Cup competition held in Tucson over the weekend, but cheered from afar as NAU’s team put on an incredible showing. My congratulations to our talented students who proudly represented our Lumberjack community with their compelling arguments in this celebration of civil discourse.
  • The weekend brought with it a host of reasons to celebrate Lumberjack athletics. For the second year in a row, the NAU men’s and women’s Track and Field teams swept the Big Sky Indoor Conference Championships with many gold medals, MVP titles and record breaking performances. Our men’s team has won the conference championship 11 years in a row. A 10th straight Western Athletic Conference Championship for the NAU Women’s Swim and Dive team,  and a regular season conference championship for our women’s basketball team to set the stage for next week’s tournament. Let’s say it together – NAU Dynasties! This spring is proving memorable across the board for Lumberjack athletics!
  • And just to round out our weekend/week of celebrations—the NAU Dance Team earned its third straight United Spirit Association national championship this past week with an incredible performance. Go Jacks!
  • Monday morning, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend my first multi-day meeting as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). NACIQI is composed of 18 members with six-year terms who advise the U.S. Secretary of Education on matters concerning institutional and programmatic accreditation for federal recognition purposes and eligibility for Title IV funds, including Pell Grants. I’ve also used the time in our nation’s capital to connect with colleagues in the national higher education leadership and policy space for conversations that help both inform and advance our work at NAU. An added bonus is getting to connect with my daughter who lives and works here!

This afternoon, I’ll be heading back to Flagstaff (and a high likelihood of some shoveling!). Next week will be similarly punctuated by travel, before a bit of rest and recovery over spring break. Stay safe in the snow and take good care.

In partnership,

José Luis Cruz Rivera

NAU Communications