Notes from the President: Nov. 3, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

I’m excited to be celebrating Homecoming this week with our broader Lumberjack community! As we start the day with snow showers—a stark contrast to San Juan just a few days ago!—I’m pleased to share my notes from a most productive and celebratory week:

  • Last Thursday, I spent a long day in transit to Puerto Rico to join a proud contingent of NAU students and their dedicated mentors and advisors at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) annual conference, where I served as keynote speaker.
  • Friday on the ground, I spent time at the conference and cheered from afar as NAU’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams brought home Big Sky conference titles—I’m eagerly looking forward to nationals in a few weeks! Between sessions, I also caught up with colleagues from NAU, CUNY and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez.
  • Saturday, as the conference came to a close, I gave the closing keynote presentation. What was most inspiring were our NAU students, who I know will help shape a better future for all through their leadership, pursuit of knowledge, sincerity, and humanity. It was a proud day to be a Lumberjack!
  • After a little downtime on Sunday, I began the long trip back to Flagstaff to start the week, pausing in airports for calls and check-ins with our team.
  • As Homecoming festivities began this week, I shook off the jetlag to begin engaging in the vibrant activities and celebrations on our campus. And this week isn’t just NAU Homecoming—it is also the beginning of our month-long celebration of Native American Heritage Month, as NAU elevates its work and redoubles its commitment as a leading institution serving Indigenous peoples.
  • The big kickoff to Homecoming began on Tuesday evening with Make it Blue and Gold. And yesterday, I joined many colleagues and students in celebrating a cherished tradition of honoring the Homecoming Dedicatee. Bestowed by our students to a committed Lumberjack faculty or staff member, the Homecoming Dedicatee for 2022 is truly a most deserving recipient: Alicia Stewart Voytek.
  • In addition to these events, I also engaged in academic program meetings with Provost Karen Pugliesi, met with our ASNAU President to discuss the priorities of the student government and the student body more broadly and convened with members of my team to prepare for ABOR committee meetings taking place today.

I look forward to closing out Homecoming week in style, with some signature events on the horizon. I encourage our Lumberjacks to attend and join our many Native American Heritage Month events as well, including Stewfest on Friday at the Native American Cultural Center.

Be safe in the snow and take good care.


José Luis Cruz Rivera


NAU Communications