Notes from the President: Jan. 27, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

I write today from Tempe, as our first Arizona Board of Regents meeting of the new year gets underway. I look forward to giving you an update next week about the important items being addressed on today’s agenda as they relate to NAU. In the meantime, I have much to share from a busy past week that’s been heavily focused on our external work with the Board, with our partners, and with our state’s elected officials in a busy legislative session.

  • As I mentioned last week, I joined members of the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance for their January meeting, which complemented earlier meetings with local partners in Flagstaff from Northern Arizona Healthcare. We have a strong and energized business and nonprofit community, and I’m excited about NAU’s continued contributions to local economic prosperity and wellbeing.
  • Friday was spent largely with our NAU Foundation and NAU Alumni Association Boards. First and foremost, I want to share my sincere thanks to our staff in NAU Advancement for their tremendous work, and my appreciation to our Board members for their enthusiasm and engagement. I left our board meetings convinced that we have a strong and dedicated team of supporters who will help NAU engage in the hard and important work of delivering on our mission and advancing our equitable postsecondary value work to transform lives of Arizonans for generations to come.
  • I also had a welcome surprise to punctuate my day, visiting the College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences and joining some of our excellent local partners from W.L. Gore and Associates for an exciting gift that will benefit science and engineering students and the broader scientific community in northern Arizona.
  • On Monday, the theme of our externally-focused work continued, in meetings with our University Marketing team to consider how best to share and promote our achievements and advocate for external support; an inspiring visit with our University Admissions recruitment team who help us tell the story of NAU and bring NAU to students near and far; time with Gail Jackson from the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona; and an exciting conversation with the Institute for Higher Education Policy on how we can add additional momentum and support to our Strategic Roadmap and postsecondary value work in the future.
  • Throughout the week, I’ve also met with members of my leadership team. We’re moving quickly on multiple fronts in service of our students, in support of our faculty and staff, and in building robust systems for future success.
  • Today marks the final day of three consecutive days in Phoenix. I’ve been incredibly busy, but haven’t minded the more mild temperatures down in the Valley!
  • My trip began with a meeting of the Greater Phoenix Leadership where we were joined by Gov. Ducey. It was an excellent meeting, with an acknowledgement of GPL’s racial equity work—closely associated with our own efforts at NAU in advancing access and equity for all throughout our state.
  • Yesterday, for the first time, I joined the Academic Leadership Summit via Zoom from our Phoenix Biomedical Campus for an opportunity to talk about our leadership, organization, representation from our governance groups, and our work together in realizing a bright future for NAU. My thanks to Interim EVP and University Provost Dr. Karen Pugliesi for her time to address the group, and for all of our academic leaders for their engagement and efforts in support of inclusive academic excellence and student success at NAU. I look forward to our continued discussions and consultation, and to sharing more on these fronts with our university community soon.
  • The rest of the day was spent at the Arizona Capitol, meeting with our elected representatives and joining the House appropriations committee to speak to NAU’s great work, particularly in nursing and other allied health fields, that are under consideration for next year’s state budget. Telling our university’s story is an easy one, when I reflect on all of the amazing work we are doing and the transformative outcomes realized by our Lumberjacks. My thanks to our representatives for their thoughtful questions and their engagement in support of higher education in our state.
  • And finally, I want to thank AZ Big Media for having me as a guest on their podcast. I enjoyed the conversation and the chance to speak about our bold vision for the future of NAU. I hope you’ll take a listen!

That’s all for this week. I’ll look forward to sharing more about the results of our board meeting today and other important updates—from Flagstaff!—next Thursday.


José Luis Cruz Rivera


NAU Communications