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Baker Report: Celebrating excellence, building thriving communities

April 11, 2014
Douglas D. Baker

Douglas D. Baker

Building thriving communities is among the pillars of student career success that I often talk about when I represent NIU in various capacities. This week is no different.

Yesterday morning, I joined WLBK radio in DeKalb to talk about communiversity initiatives and working together toward bold futures not only for our students, but also our university and the city as well. Our futures are truly inextricably linked.

In that spirit, I invite members of the community to participate in Celebrating Excellence, which recognizes the many accomplishments and contributions of NIU students, faculty, staff and alumni to the university’s mission throughout the year. These activities and recognition ceremonies – which begin Saturday with NIU Cares Day and lectures by Nancy Lublin – provide excellent examples of what can be accomplished when we all embrace the concept of student career success in living our mission. Most of the functions are free and open to the public.

After Thursday’s radio appearance, I traveled to Rockford for an online chat interview with the Rockford Register Star. Rockford is an important community for NIU; not only is it home to NIU-Rockford, where over 2,000 students attend classes in person or online, but it is home to approximately 1,500 students who attend classes in DeKalb each semester in addition to the 14,000 NIU alumni that live in the area.

NIU is Rockford’s four-year public university. In partnership with Rockford area business, government and civic leaders, NIU’s Rockford engagement staff is pursuing an ambitious set of goals aligned with the goals of the community to increase the educational attainment of its citizens and enrich their quality of life; positively influence the area in terms of health, wellness and safety; and enhance the culture of innovation, building its reputation as an international city.

In keeping with these goals, I also visited with other Rockford education leaders: Alex Stagnaro-Green, regional dean at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, and Rockford University President Robert Head. Both were receptive to collaborating in the future to meet the Rockford area’s educational needs and aspirations. Congratulations to newly appointed Rock Valley College President Mike Mastroianni. I look forward to working closely together in support of one another’s institutions to ensure success for the students and the region we serve.

I hope to see you at one or more of the Celebrating Excellence activities in the coming weeks as we approach the end of another semester and the new beginnings that take place with graduation.

To bold futures!