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Education as a Pathway to Pursuing Possibilities

ChengIn Flagstaff, we are thoroughly enjoying the peak of summer. More than any other time of year, this is the month that our minds turn to the celebration of freedom and the legacy of our nation’s dedication to a dream. We benefit from the early Americans’ vision – a vision that shapes the liberty we enjoy today. Freedom from limits on creativity and doubt that harm the pursuit of the possible, and freedom to learn, to pursue, to build on new ideas and beliefs. Freedom is the core of the success of our nation, and it is the essence of what drives Northern Arizona University.

Our forefathers sought freedom from the way things had always been done, and liberty to build something new on the foundation of a proven method; freedom to serve each other, bound together by a common vision and shared understanding. I am proud of the many ways you see those passions reflected in the outcomes of our university team on campus and across Arizona. Our breakthrough research on critical topics like forest management, informatics and astronomy are literally changing the way we see the world around us, and our expanding degree programs continue to boldly broaden our discoveries into new areas and possibilities. The strong ties we have built with our university and community college partners are taking degree opportunities to every corner of the state, so higher education is no longer limited to those with the ability to reach a college campus.

Our influence is also carried to many statewide discussions through our work with key entities like business associations and chambers of commerce. Our involvement with the State Board of Education ensures that NAU’s insight can help shape and improve Arizona’s full education pipeline. We regularly engage with state legislators to inform and involve them in NAU’s vision for the future and the potential it holds for economic development and scholastic achievement. We are also hosting the STAR program throughout the summer, bringing high school students to our Flagstaff campus so they can see for themselves how college can expand their freedom to pursue future dreams.

These efforts are eliminating barriers to success and overriding traditional limitations on research, access and possibilities. I truly believe our possibilities are limited only by our imaginations, and the vision of our NAU team holds immeasurable promise for the future.

As we prepare for a new school year and meet the bright young minds joining us this semester, our team at NAU will continue to ensure that the structure of our goals and the focus of our ambitions never cramp the freedom of creativity, the joy on the mind’s journey to new discoveries.

By NAU President Rita Cheng

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