It’s finally summer in the high country! Our Northern Arizona University commencement festivities in May kicked off the season with pomp and ceremony. Commencement brings out the best in all of us, and we are grateful to our community for welcoming so many visitors who came to celebrate the more than 4,900 graduates. As we send our new alumni into their professional lives, those of us on campus turn our attention to the busy days of summer season.
There are those who believe colleges are a place of rest throughout the summer, but at NAU, that’s not the case at all! Summer is a time of planning, professional development and improvement projects that will further enhance our university and facilitate the entrance of more freshmen Lumberjacks this fall. We will also welcome new faculty and staff during the summer, and we are eager to integrate them into a university that is consistently striving for excellence. Every day this summer we provide new opportunities for them to learn the skills and systems needed to thrive at NAU.
This month also marks the end of the fiscal year – a fact that is significant for construction projects and financial accountability to the state and the Arizona Board of Regents. During the course of summer, we will be renovating several key facilities, including the south dining area, the pedway and the bookstore. We will continue construction on new student housing and parking facilities, and we will add improvements to the Aquatic and Tennis Complex. In June, we’ll share highlights of those projects and our overall performance measures with the Arizona Board of Regents during their visit to campus.
Our summer activities are not limited only to our team. We are proud to host events throughout the summer that connect us to the Flagstaff community. We host an annual education conference for American Indian and Indigenous Teachers, and Exploring Conferences that bring together law enforcement, emergency service personnel and fire experts from around the country for trainings and teambuilding activities. This year, we’re home to a conference for experts studying all aspects of children’s speech-sound development. We host many summer camps for schoolchildren, our accomplished faculty showcase their skills through art shows, dance performances and special museum features, and athletes from around the state gather for our sports camps and workshops.
There may be fewer students on campus this summer, but don’t let that fool you. We are hard at work providing services and opportunities for everyone to enjoy summer in Flagstaff. Don’t take my word for it – come visit our beautiful campus soon for a walk, a sporting event or a professional development opportunity! FBN
By Rita Hartung Cheng
Rita Hartung Cheng is president of Northern Arizona University.