Notes from the President: Sept. 22, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

The past few days have been some of the most memorable of my time here at NAU.

We have celebrated the stories, connections and opportunities forged by NAU’s 123-year partnership with the Flagstaff community

We have honored champions of the heart of our university who elevate our collective work and ensure NAU is defined by a commitment to equity and inclusion and that together we support the aspirations of all students in their pursuit of careers of consequence and lives of purpose…

We have gathered in the hundreds to share a meal and celebrate this great community and glorious academic year so full of promise…

Yet, while there is so much to share in my Notes this week, I want to use this space today to take a moment to reflect. Because many of my thoughts drift to my home of Puerto Rico, where friends and family are without power or clean water due to the devastating impacts of Hurricane Fiona. Thankfully for both Rima and me, our loved ones are safe. Nevertheless, the conditions on the ground are dire.

Over the last year, I have seen here in Flagstaff an environment that is both beautiful and fragile, where recent wildfires and floods leave marks that will last for generations. It is a striking parallel to Puerto Rico. So, while the distance between these two homes is great, the response needed to address the systemic issues that create the conditions for these catastrophic events to wreak havoc on our environment and our communities—repeatedly—is crucial and similar.

I encourage you to learn more, to consider joining or watching our President’s Speaker Series inaugural lecture with Dr. Arturo Massol-Deyá on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Dr. Massol-Deyá is a Puerto Rico resident and scholar, and this is an opportunity to hear a timely message from a leader on the front lines of natural resources conservation, education and sustainable development and responding to this disaster. I know you will be inspired and, perhaps, moved to support Casa Pueblo, a community-based group well-positioned to aid those most in need on the island, which is already active in recovery efforts.

Here at NAU, we must use our position as a hub of learning and scholarship not just to recognize the issues impacting our world and our homes—wherever those homes may be—but to build the capacity, the knowledge and the will to act to tackle these challenges head on and build a better future for ourselves and future generations.


José Luis Cruz Rivera

NAU Communications