Aug. 27, 2018

Dear UNT faculty and staff,

After a long hot summer our students are back on campus, and we are all excited about starting a new fall semester. It was great to see our freshmen on campus last week, and today we welcome back our returning students for another record-setting enrollment year. I talked to many of our incoming students this past month and was inspired by their dreams and hopes - they want UNT to transform them into successful professionals with strong skills, confidence and a network of friends. We - the faculty, staff and administration - are the catalysts for their transformation.  

As our latest video shows, UNT is a place where we care about our students' well-being, where their creativity is nurtured, and where faculty and staff go the extra mile to help. At our summer Planning Implementation Workshop, we took a hard look at our data to learn how we can improve retention and started to develop concrete plans that will make a difference in our students' success. I hope each of you will find a way to help our students be successful here. By working together and showing students how #UNTCares, we will help them become the creative leaders of tomorrow.

This year, we will build on the progress we made during a record-setting year in 2017-18, and we will continue to develop our unique brand. Nowhere else have I seen creativity celebrated in so many ways. In an age of disruption, we have an opportunity to become central to the growth of the creative economy - we are a place where creativity and technology unite to drive innovation in a digital age. I applaud the efforts of so many of you who have collaborated to create a new research culture, to build an inspired curriculum for our rapidly evolving Frisco branch campus, to support our corporate partnerships, and reimagine how we need to educate our students and do business as we become a high performing institution. I congratulate all of you for contributing to our growing reputation - we now have 72 programs ranked among the nation's top 100. This is a signal achievement due to your hard work and dedication to becoming the best.  

Our leadership team is the best I have ever had the pleasure to serve, and I am excited by the new perspectives and energy they bring to us as we refine our vision and drive the collaborative scholarship that will get us there. UNT is becoming one of the most exciting and innovative institutions in the country, and each of you plays a critical role in our success. I hope you will join Provost Jennifer Cowley and me this fall at our college-based listening tours and Town Hall meetings so UNT can soar higher.

As we begin another academic year, I invite you to mark your calendar for the following university-wide events and take an active role in being part of the Mean Green family.

I'm wishing each and every one of you a fantastic fall semester. If you see me on campus, let me know how things are going, or connect with me on Twitter @UNTPrez and show the world what makes you #UNTProud and how #UNTCares about student success. And don't forget, green isn't just for Fridays, because at UNT our Mean Green Pride is always abundant.

UNT Proud, 
Neal Smatresk