USU president highlights expansion in address

Utah State University President Noelle Cockett spoke to faculty, staff and students as part of her first State of the University address Tuesday morning. Cockett touched on what she saw as recent university success along with her vision for future inclusion and success of students.

Cockett said all 10 of her presidential priorities fall within the university’s mission to emphasize research, education and outreach. The hope is that these priorities work together for longterm united success across the community and across the state, said Cockett.

“This is a state of entrepreneurs,” Cockett said, “and I think that comes from the history and legacy of Utah’s pioneers, the agriculture community and a large number of innovators.”

Cockett attributed the growing influence of the university to this history and said she is determined to blanket the state in Aggie blue. Being a land-grant institution ensures funding in order to continue to expand in the ways Cockett presented.

“When the state needs research, education or outreach, I think they look to USU and I want them to continue to look to USU,” Cockett said. “We know how to do it.”

“I really like how Noelle is making the statewide campuses a priority,” said Ashlee Karren, the art director for university marketing and communications, “because in the past those campuses have been a part of USU but they haven’t always been as included.”

Karren said her department, as a unified marketing team for USU, plans on following Cockett’s lead by including nontraditional students in recruitment resources and helping people unite across the state and across demographics.

“I hope people can come here and feel like an Aggie and always feel like an Aggie,” Karren said.

Patrick Belmont, a professor in the department of watershed sciences and president of the faculty senate, said what struck him from the State of the University address is that USU is expanding in so many directions.

“We are doing so many great things in so many fields,” Belmont said.

This expansion was highlighted as Cockett presented the university’s statewide reach, the success of USU Athletics and an increase in diversity and inclusion on campus.

Continuing student success will be measured by completion time as well as an effort to expand educational, experiential and financial opportunities.

Sophia Gull, a junior in the photography program, said she was hoping to hear about service and giving back to the community as well as sustainability initiatives. Gull said she hopes these also continue to be a focus of the university as it balances all of the ongoing expansion.

“USU just knocks it out of the park,” Cockett said. “And when people ask if it is complex, I say, ‘Yeah, but it is fabulous, and that is what we should continue to do.’”