Welcome to a new academic year. The energy on campus created by both familiar faces and new arrivals among students, faculty, and staff has me looking forward to the possibilities ahead this fall.
Monday marked my return to campus following a period of delayed bereavement leave. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with my family after the heartbreaking death of my son Nick last December. The healing journey is ongoing, but I am thankful to be part of a university community that cares for and supports one another.
I appreciate each of you and recognize the hard work that continued throughout the summer. Thank you to our dedicated faculty, who remained engaged in teaching, research, scholarship, and creative works. Our committed staff, from the groundskeepers who maintained attractive campus spaces to those in admissions who guided students through orientation. And our tremendous students, who continued working, learning, and pursuing the path toward their degrees. I want to also thank Provost and Executive Vice President Kirsty Fleming for serving over the summer as the lead administrator and each of the university's leaders for their commitment to the success of the University of Northern Colorado.
There is much to look forward to in the year ahead. We will enter into the fourth year of our strategic plan, Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, and continue building on the solid foundation we have set for successfully realizing our vision for the future of UNC. I shared in a message in May many of the accomplishments we achieved together over the previous academic year. From furthering our dedication to being Students First to advancing our ongoing and shared commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community to keeping UNC a desirable place to work by investing in faculty and staff, we have made tremendous progress.
In addition to continuing implementation of the key actions and tactics we identified for the second phase of our strategic plan, my leadership team and I will also engage with members of the university community to chart a course for the next two-year phase that we will embark on together beginning next July. A steadfast focus on our vision and its core elements – Students First, Empower Inclusivity, Enhance & Invest, Innovate & Create, and Connect & Celebrate – will continue to guide us in all we do. Advancing our strategic priorities cannot be done alone, and I look forward to working together with a shared sense of purpose to realize the best for UNC and the communities we serve.
A top priority of my service as president continues to be personal engagement – my interactions with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters, and with community, business, and education partners in Greeley and beyond. I am pleased to be back on campus and look forward to seeing you soon. I hope you will join me later in September for our annual State of the University Address to hear more about the opportunities ahead and to celebrate some of our successes as well.
I wish you each a new academic year filled with growth, discovery, and meaningful connections.
Rowing, Not Drifting,