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President Feinstein Highlights Togetherness and Growth in State of the University Address

President Andy Feinstein giving the State of the University Address

September 9, 2021

During the annual State of the University Address on Sept. 8, UNC President Andy Feinstein, along with several other university leaders, reflected on the challenges over the past year brought on by the pandemic and the importance of working together to overcome those challenges. 

While acknowledging that the university has had to make some tough decisions to ensure as normal of a return as possible this fall, Feinstein said, “There is nothing better than being back together. It may sound cliché, but it is heartfelt and true – a UNC education is enriched by the relationships that form on our campus. Togetherness is an important characteristic that distinguishes UNC from other universities—and that’s never been more true than it is today.” 

The value of working together was illustrated through numerous accounts of faculty and staff going above and beyond to ensure student success is at the core of UNC’s daily work. That includes the ongoing administrative efforts to end years of deficit spending to be able to invest in the future of UNC’s students and employees and through the university’s continued efforts to develop and strengthen relationships within the Greeley community. Feinstein also recognized and applauded the perseverance of UNC’s students through a very difficult period. 

“Students, we admire your resilience and determination. Your commitment to your education, desire to earn your degree, and drive to pursue your dreams inspires us. Keep pushing forward and know that we are here to support you throughout your journey as a UNC Bear.” 

During the address, Feinstein spoke about several accomplishments within the last year, as well as plans currently in progress that advance the university’s priorities identified in Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, UNC’s 10-year strategic plan. That includes the five vision elements that guide the university’s work; Students First, Empower Inclusivity, Enhance and Invest, Innovate and Create, and Connect and Celebrate. Notable highlights included the following:  

  • Recognizing the donor-funded projects that have provided student scholarships and financial support for academic and extracurricular programs. In total, over more than 3,500 donors contributed to UNC in the last fiscal year, making gifts and pledges totaling more than $12 million.  
  • Elevating UNC’s current Chief Diversity Officer position to Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to ensure DEI is a core component in the university’s efforts. 
  • Celebrating the 35th anniversary of UNC’s César Chávez Cultural Center and prioritizing the university's efforts to become a Hispanic Serving Institution. 
  • Partnering with Sodexo, a global food service and facilities management company, to ensure UNC will have more local and diverse retail options on campus and improve the overall dining experience on campus. 
  • Investing in employees by providing raises for faculty and staff and creating new initiatives to show support for UNC employees, including half days on Fridays between Commencement and August, paid time off for volunteering, and an employee appreciation program titled “Build a Bear Up.” 
  • Exploring avenues for potential growth, including the creation of an Osteopathic Medical School at UNC. The university is currently conducting a feasibility study to evaluate market demand, economic impact and the capacity and commitment of healthcare providers to support the program. 
  • Collaborating with the city to amplify Greeley’s pride in being home to UNC. 

Feinstein closed his speech acknowledging the university’s persistence in becoming more nimble, understanding and supportive of one another in the last year. But most importantly, he emphasized the concept of togetherness. 

“Working together, the great work we do every day will yield extraordinary results for our students, faculty, staff, friends and community.” 

UNC Student Body President Enrique Benavidez, Classified Staff Council Chair Roni Secord, Professional Administrative Staff Council Chair Kendra Schneider, Interim Provost Lisa Vollendorf and Faculty Senate Chair Oscar Levin all joined Feinstein in speaking during the address.  

Watch the recording of the State of the University Address:

— Written by Deanna Herbert

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