Fellow Bears, The end of the 2020-21 academic year is here — and what a year it has been. Campus certainly looked different during this time, but our mission and core values never wavered. Our staff and faculty worked diligently and creatively to find alternative ways to continue to provide an engaging educational experience, while prioritizing the health and safety of our community.   

The classroom may have looked a little different, our on-campus events were limited, and our athletic teams faced some disruption due to COVID-19, but our Bears persevered through it all. I have been continually impressed with the resilience of our community. I admire the grit and determination many of our students, faculty, and staff displayed in the past year. We have all faced our unique challenges and difficult moments during the pandemic, but one thing has remained constant — Bears support Bears in times of need. 

Whether it was a faculty or staff member spending additional time to support a student who was struggling, an alumnus generously donating money that helped provide students with financial relief, or a student taking the time to check in with another student who needed help, Bears have been there for one another. I have always appreciated the tight-knit community that characterizes UNC, but I saw that on display even more so in the past year. 

Thank you to everyone who supported the university in one way or another; I cannot overemphasize how much it has meant to me and our students.     

Putting students first has always been a priority at UNC, but we are making that even more intentional in the coming years. We are currently in Phase 1 (of 5) of our 10-year strategic plan, titled Rowing, Not Drifting 2030. At the core of our strategic plan is the goal to become a Students First university. As articulated in our vision statement, our students will experience a personalized education, gain the skills and knowledge that provide upward mobility among alumni, and share a commitment to the values of inclusion, equity, and diversity.       

At UNC, we provide our students with the keys for success inside and outside of the classroom. When our students graduate, they are well-equipped to succeed in life and in whichever career path they may choose. In this edition of UNC Magazine, you will read stories about the impact of a generous donation of Steinway pianos to UNC, how students and educators are placing a greater emphasis on mental health, and a reflection from three alumni in different industries about the challenges and rewards of working during the pandemic.   

I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy, and I look forward to connecting with more Bears on campus again soon!  Rowing, Not Drifting,

Andy Feinstein

Andy Feinstein, President

To learn more, you can find the Rowing, Not Drifting Strategic Plan online at:

unco.edu/strategic-plan