As the warm days of summer begin to cool, I want to welcome you to an exciting year at Utah State University. Together, we will create a year of excellence – lengthening the legacy of great Aggie alumni before you.
As classes begin for the 2017-2018 academic year, those of you who are new to campus will begin a year of freshman firsts. I too, will share those experiences with you, as I begin my first fall as newly appointed president of USU. It is a momentous time for me and will be a year of “firsts” as I work to map the future of the university.
Our dedicated and award-winning faculty at this great land-grant institution are scholar-educators who have shared a commitment to teaching excellence and rigorous research to help you succeed. And while USU student success stories are numerous, I’d like to highlight Jake Christensen and Thomas Hill who were named 2017 Goldwater Scholars, and fellow undergraduate A. J. Walters, who received an honorable mention, in a prestigious national competition that recognizes outstanding achievements in science and mathematics. This well-deserved recognition is a testament to the exceptional achievements of our students in academics, research and service.
We are very proud that we can provide you the opportunity to study under our award-winning faculty. As one example, in January 2017, USU faculty members Terry Messmer, John Morrey and Debra Spielmaker were among the 2017 recipients of the Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Science and Technology. These individuals showcase our commitment to helping people in Utah and beyond through our land-grant mission of discovery, learning and outreach.
We have also been working to improve the facilities our students enjoy as part of their education. In April, I was proud to be a part of the groundbreaking for the new Life Sciences building on the Logan campus that will benefit students in more than 30 majors taking foundational biology classroom and lab courses housed in the new facility.
As always, our friends, alumni and donors of the university contribute to the livelihood of our great institution. In early May 2017, we announced a major expansion of the highly selective Huntsman Scholars Program and the launch of the Center of Growth and Opportunity thanks to a joint $50 million gift to the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business from the Huntsman Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation. The joint gift is the largest in the school’s history and will enable us to continue fostering innovative teaching and experiences to improve lives and communities.
As in years past, our excellence as an institution continues. U.S. News and World Report has ranked the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services 26th in the nation overall against all graduate colleges of education. Of significant note, the college was ranked fifth in the nation in total research dollars received by a college, with faculty and staff securing $46.7 million in funded research. And USU-Online was recognized as having the 14th best online bachelor’s programs nationwide in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report, widely regarded as one of the preeminent college ranking systems.
As we progress into the year, please be on the lookout for special events on campus as the university celebrates the “Year of the Arts.” The year will begin with the opening of the new Daines Concert Hall in October that will serve as the centerpiece of the extensive Fine Arts Complex renovation.
And finally, I would like to say that you are all part of our Aggie family. Whether you are at our main campus in Logan, or at one of our many branch campuses located throughout the state of Utah, we care about you. As such, I have dedicated myself and have tasked others to help make Utah State University an inclusive community that fosters support for each other in order to ensure campus and community safety and well-being.
Have a wonderful year of firsts!
Noelle E. Cockett
Utah State University
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