Notes from the President: Oct. 20, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

We are at the mid-point of the Fall semester. This week, many of our departments are celebrating National Transfer Student Week through various events and activities, recognizing a significant portion of our NAU community who have transferred from another institution and are seeking to complete their degrees at NAU. My notes for the past week are below:

  • Late last week and through the weekend I took a few days of vacation to travel to Puerto Rico to check in with family. While the island is still recovering from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Fiona earlier this fall, I am awed by its resilient beauty and heartened by the brief time I got to spend with family and friends.
  • Both coming and going, I had an opportunity to briefly stop in New York City, meet with friends and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city my family and I called home for several years.
  • Returning to Flagstaff—and equipped with some new dog-themed socks, taking in the beautiful fall weather during my walks to work and in between meetings—I’ve had a productive start to this week:
    • Discussing our audit priorities for the year ahead.
    • Continuing to speak to partners and media in response to the strong wave of interest and enthusiasm around our Arizona Attainment Alliance launch and impactful health care and workforce-aligned educational programs throughout the state.
    • Engaging in tri-university conversations about leadership and strategic direction for the Phoenix Bioscience Core.
    • Discussing innovations being considered by our team on how NAU can leverage our expertise and be a broker for student opportunity and success.
    • Discussing ways in which we can remove financial hurdles and support student persistence and success systematically in our operations and policies.

Even with all of this, my official work calendar was slightly less packed than usual, though no less active on the informal working front with a stream of emails, documents for review and engaging thinking and ad hoc conversations with colleagues. The additional whitespace gave me a bit of time to reflect on what I’m looking forward to as we stand poised to enter the second half of the semester. And if there’s one thing that jumps out on the near-term horizon it is most definitely our Homecoming celebrations. Having experienced our university’s traditions for the first-time last year, I’m now looking forward to them with greater anticipation, knowing the fun, excitement, passion and engagement they promise. I encourage you to mark your calendars for Homecoming now, sign up for events, get tickets to games and submit your float for our parade. I look forward to seeing you then!


José Luis Cruz Rivera

NAU Communications