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Communication from Cantwell: Embracing the Mission

New USU president Elizabeth Cantwell throws up the horns to signify her Aggie spirit during a photoshoot.
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I am pleased and very excited to join the Aggie Family as Utah State University’s 17th president. USU has a long tradition of academic excellence, impactful research, and continuous engagement with state and local communities — all of which serve to elevate the state of Utah. I’m excited to build upon that solid foundation.

As a public land-grant university, it is our obligation to make ourselves relevant for the future into which our students are moving. The model for public higher education is changing — adapting to the pace of change in the world around us, and USU is already meeting that moment in numerous ways. For example, our Statewide Campus model is unique and provides a powerful platform across Utah where we offer multiple academic and class delivery modes, as well as new modes for student engagement in teaching and learning. For students across the state of Utah, we are making a difference.

And we’re not done. As the world shifts rapidly, we will ensure the modern land-grant university that we represent addresses the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, aligning with the core values and pioneer spirit of Utah. We will ensure that our land-grant mission:

• Embraces a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship

• Emphasizes meaningful engagement and collaboration with regional communities

• Promotes land, air, and water stewardship

• Prioritizes accessible and high quality education that equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the modern workforce

• Cultivates a sense of civic duty, encourages real-world and community service, and prepares graduates to lead

My mantra has long been “we must embrace complexity.” Higher education is a complex system that has historically been able to undergo changes and then stabilize. However, it is presently unclear how adaptive the current system is. I look forward to working with the talented individuals at this university and within the community — students, faculty, staff, and alumni —to put the adaptive capabilities in place that will allow USU to achieve its potential.

Part of adapting to meet the needs of our current and future students is learning what those needs are by engaging with our local and regional communities. Through these interactions, we can better understand how to grow the economic and societal value of what the university does. We will continuously work with regions and communities to elevate them and make them stronger, which in turn empowers students who are going to come to our university and bring their own creative ideas back to their communities: a virtuous cycle of impact.

I look forward to learning from all of you and working together to manifest the exciting future we all know is possible.

Go Aggies!


Elizabeth Cantwell

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