Above: Photo by Nick Gonzales

Hello, Banana Slug community! We are now well into a new academic year—a unique one, for certain. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted what instruction and campus life looks like—faculty and staff work life, too—but it has not dampened our enthusiasm for the things our campus does so well: teaching, research, and public service.

I am proud of the way our campus has worked through the multiple challenges we’ve faced this past year while keeping our values and our aspirations at the top of mind. It’s also important that we not overlook our landmark achievements of the past year: election to the Association of American Universities and an invitation to join the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. Both are prestigious honors that recognize our excellent faculty and the impact of their research.

We’ve started this year strong as well, landing once again among the top five universities in the nation for student social mobility and earning recognition as a top 40 public research university, according to U.S. News and World Report. And our first Nobel Laureate, Carol Grieder, an eminent biologist and advocate for diversity in science, has arrived and begun working directly with our students. 

Also, at a time when our country is engaged in a reckoning around racial justice and anti-Blackness, we are working to confront and break this pattern at our own campus. We will promote institutional accountability by developing new ways to listen to and collaborate with our African, Black, and Caribbean (ABC) students, undocumented students, and other student groups. We want to continue to work with student leaders to discover partnerships that demonstrate that student advocacy can lead to equitable and sustainable change. ABC students guided the co-creation of our pilot Pan-African Research Fellowship program, designed for students to conduct research on barriers in the areas of ABC student wellness, learning, engagement, and career preparation. These fellowships are an important step toward meaningful change.

Thank you for your continued engagement with and commitment to our university. We have left an indelible mark on the world in our relatively short life as an institution of higher learning. Together, we have much more history to make. 



Chancellor Cynthia Larive

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