Fellow Bears,

As we mark the end of the academic year, I want to thank each member of our university community and recognize all we have accomplished by working together to make the University of Northern Colorado a great place to learn and work.

On Friday and Saturday, we will celebrate approximately 1,200 graduates across four ceremonies. I have already enjoyed seeing over the course of this week many graduating students at various year-end receptions. Our commitment to being Students First means that we exist to transform the life of every person who enrolls in our university. As this spring’s graduating class begins a new chapter, our entire UNC community looks ahead with anticipation to everything they will accomplish next. 

This year has been one of significant progress toward the vision and outcomes articulated in our Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 strategic plan. I shared at the start of this semester that I would be holding a series of discussions throughout the spring to engage with members of the university community on our top priorities.

Over the past four months, members of my leadership team and I held fireside chats to discuss the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Facilities Comprehensive Plan, the most recent Campus Climate Survey, and work related to Strategic Enrollment Management. Each discussion was well-attended by faculty, staff, and students, and I look forward to continuing to provide opportunities for informal conversation in the future.

We also came together for two town hall sessions to share updates, answer questions, and seek feedback on UNC’s current financial health and budget outlook and priorities for the next phase of our strategic plan. Several hundred members of the university community participated in person and virtually, and I followed each session with further updates on the budget and strategic planning efforts. As we conclude the second phase of our strategic plan, I hope you take pride and feel a sense of accomplishment in all we have been able to do by working together with a shared sense of purpose. I look forward to presenting in the fall the collectively developed Phase III priorities that will guide us over the next two years. As you know, finding opportunities to bring our community together has always been important to me, and I am grateful to all who participated throughout the semester.

While you have already seen the announcements and news coverage, I want to again highlight some of our most significant accomplishments this year and thank you for helping make them happen. In March, I shared the exciting news that UNC has officially been designated a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The official designation is important because it signals to students and their families that UNC is a place committed to fostering a sense of belonging for Hispanic and Latine communities. It also makes possible the pursuit of additional funding opportunities to continue to invest in our people and programs. This is part of our broader commitment to serving every student by ensuring that our university is a place where all individuals feel welcomed and supported. 

We have also moved closer to realizing our vision to establish an osteopathic medical college at UNC. Our plans were boosted this fall with a $25 million gift from The Weld Trust, which is the largest single gift in our university’s history. Last week, lawmakers approved House Bill 24-1231, which will allocate further funding for the initiative. Yesterday, I attended, along with a small group of our strongest supporters, the ceremony at which Governor Polis signed the bill into law. Work will continue over the summer to make progress on this initiative. 

There is much more beyond these highlights to celebrate as we end the academic year. Please join me in pausing to reflect on our work together and taking time for rest and renewal. Whether it is enjoying the return of half-day Fridays, making use of your vacation leave, or enjoying a different pace to your work, I hope the months ahead are restorative. 

Thank you to every member of the UNC community for supporting our students. I hope many of you will join me in celebrating our graduates at this weekend’s commencement ceremonies.

Rowing, Not Drifting,

  Andy Feistein.

Andy Feistein  X.