Sept. 17, 2015

Dear UNT community,

Yesterday was a huge milestone in UNT's history. On Sept. 16, 1890, Joshua C. Chilton opened the doors of our institution as a teacher's training school with 70 students. He had a vision for us to be a leader, imparting an education that would help the men and women of Texas excel.

One hundred and twenty five years later, we're much bigger with a broader scope and impact, but we still adhere to the same vision. We always will strive to be a leader because that's what our students and region deserve -- a university performing at the top of its game. And it will always be our mission to provide the best education so our students can achieve their dreams and inspire others along the way.

What's evolved is how we make our mark as a leader, a university that doesn't just take the best and brightest but creates the best and brightest. We will become one of the top public research institutions in the nation, known around the world for our excellence, creativity and innovation. In doing so, we will be a first-choice university, transforming our students into the workforce and leaders of tomorrow.

At yesterday's State of the University where we kicked of our 125th anniversary celebrations, I discussed our path toward to national prominence. I also unveiled our top priorities for what we will tackle this year and reviewed our accomplishments so far. We made incredible progress last year and we should all be proud of how far we've come. Read our 2014-15 Accomplishments Summary highlighting university-wide achievements and our 2014-15 Planning Implementation Report.

You can read a recap of the State of the University and my address.

To keep us on track this year, I assigned four Planning Implementation Teams that will be accountable for delivering on our goals:

  • The Academic Implementation Team will be co-led by Finley Graves, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Elizabeth With, vice president for student affairs.
  • The Research Implementation Team will be led by Tom McCoy, vice president for research and economic development.
  • The Operations and Infrastructure Implementation Team will be led by Bob Brown, vice president for finance and administration.
  • The Enrollment Management Implementation Team will be led by Shannon Goodman, vice president for enrollment.

This year, we will focus on improving our academics, research and reputation -- essential ingredients for achieving national prominence. Based on the work and success of last year, I know we will once again make incredible progress. We have the vision. We have the drive. We have the right people -- each of you. Together, we will make great things happen for our students and for UNT. Watch a recap of how our community members vowed to help UNT move forward.

I'm incredibly proud of this university. I'm so pleased to be able to serve all of you and to work with you. I know if President Chilton were here today, he'd be just as proud of our accomplishments as I am.

This year, we're not just celebrating 125 years of progress and history. We are defining the next 125 years of excellence for UNT.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk