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Baker Report: Thanksgiving blessings

November 26, 2014
NIU President Doug Baker

NIU President Doug Baker

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to gather with family and friends. We pause to reflect upon that for which we are most thankful. NIU students, faculty and staff have worked hard this year, and hopefully each of us is realizing the fruits of that labor.

The NIU community is like a family, teaching and learning together, supporting one another in times of need and discussing ideas and even disagreeing with one another. Each of us faces life’s challenges individually, but our common bond is our connection to NIU. We depend on each other to reach our collective goals and do so in an open, respectful and collegial manner.

As we approach Thanksgiving weekend and the holidays, Dana and I are thankful for many things.

We are thankful for the dedication of our faculty and staff and their “Ask me, I can help” attitude in empowering students to pursue their life’s ambitions. NIU faculty are making important contributions in the areas of research and artistry while going the extra mile to position our students for success as we work to reinvent our university. Recent examples have included work regarding “telepressure” and the ergonomic implications of extended typing on tablet computers. The work of our faculty is not going unnoticed, as Dan Gebo was recognized last week as “Illinois Professor of the Year.”

We are thankful for the involvement of our student body in this transformation. NIU students are motivated and hungry for knowledge. Their input is crucial to making NIU a better place to live and learn.

Thank you to our alumni, who now number 240,000 worldwide and 150,000 in the state of Illinois. We are thankful for the continued involvement and support of alumni toward key university initiatives, providing internships and mentoring to current students and for continuing to represent NIU in a positive manner throughout the world. Marquis Hill, winner of the Theolonius Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, is a recent example of Huskie success.

And we are thankful to our partners in the community for all they do to make NIU a better place to be, whether on our DeKalb main campus, the Lorado Taft field campus in Oregon or the regional education centers in Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford. NIU Law’s Health Advocacy Clinic at Hesed House in Aurora is just one example of how we are reaching out to those in need while providing our students with transformational experiences. Through partnerships and other engagement in our service region, we can not only address quality-of-life issues, we can involve students in important work that provides hands-on learning and strengthens the sense of community.

We wish you a healthy, peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving holiday and look forward to finishing the semester and the calendar year strong.

Go Huskies, and beat the Broncos!