Founders Day video

Sept. 24, 2020

Dear UNT faculty and staff,  

Today, I delivered the first-ever virtual State of the University, and I encourage you to set aside 30 minutes to watch my address outlining our university's progress, the ways COVID-19 has changed how we do business, and how we are charting our best way forward.

The challenges of the past six months do not overshadow our achievements. As you'll see in this video, we made real progress in implementing our strategic plans and advancing as a Tier One university. We hired national academy members, increased the number of programs in the top 100, expanded enrollment, offered more financial aid and scholarship support, implemented new retention programs, rapidly expanded corporate partnerships, made major commitments to become a more diverse and equitable campus, increased research submissions, achieved status as a Minority-Serving and Hispanic-Serving Institution and graduated a record number of students. These achievements are a result of intentional strategic planning and diligent implementation over many years, and combined with our accomplishments in prior years, are helping us build UNT's future.

Higher education is changing. Students are demanding affordability, demographics are shifting and Texas is focused on graduating the next generation of leaders who will guide the economy. To meet these demands, we are changing the way we do business to better meet the needs of our students. We have steadily charted a course over the past few years to become an institution known for educational innovation, which will be key to our success during this difficult time.

It's no accident that we have done so well, despite the challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our progress in recent years prepared us to adapt. During the presentation, I highlighted a few campus COVID Heroes who went the extra mile to serve our students and our university.

To continue to thrive moving forward, we are focused on strengthening our diverse culture and creating a more inclusive campus climate, bolstering student success and career preparation with the private sector, creating more access through advanced online and hybrid delivery, and growing access with affordability. We have much work to do and campus leadership will spend the next few months exploring the ways in which we will propel UNT forward through initiatives and processes that align with our strategic plan. I plan to present our next steps in January for the State of the University, Part 2.

Thank you all so much for everything you do for our students, our university and each other. I believe our Mean Green Family is stronger than ever, and I look forward to the year to come knowing that I get to serve one of the most caring communities I've ever known.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk