Utah State University President Noelle Cockett delivered an upbeat State of the University address on Wednesday, March 31.
You can watch the complete recording from Aggiecast.
While the president’s presentation focused on a range of topics including university value, access, flexibility, resilience, excellence and impact, one key word kept repeating: flourish.
“I seem to be using that word an awful lot today,” Cockett said. And for good reason: Although it was just over one year ago that USU had to quickly pivot in the face of COVID-19, the university has many success stories to share during that time.
In fact, NYU Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway, who has analyzed the value versus vulnerability of universities during the pandemic, listed USU as one of 88 schools – and the only public institution in Utah – in his “thrive” category.
Cockett discussed ways USU provides value for students and helps improve access to a college education. The university awarded more than $102 million in private and institutional scholarships in 2019-20. USU also used federal CARES Act grants and funds from generous donors to help support students who faced financial and technological challenges during the pandemic.
Recapping the past year’s changes in course delivery and the many other aspects of the university’s COVID response – and how they all have evolved semester by semester – Cockett used the phrase “knocked it out of the park” several times to describe the efforts of university faculty and staff.
She moved on to spotlight student successes, research breakthroughs, and the impact that university research and expertise has on communities in Utah. One example is the new Institute of Land, Water, Air, which will connect policy makers and community leaders from across the state with USU experts and research.
During a Q&A session following the address, Cockett addressed questions on COVID-19 vaccines and testing, plans for bringing students and employees fully back to USU campuses, and the biggest challenge the university will face in the coming year.
“It’s continuing our success, but I don’t see that as a challenge,” she said in response to that final question. “I know we’re going to do it. Our people are amazing … our success and our flourishing are going to continue to happen.”