Next-generation research university

President Neal Smatresk visits with students during the Homecoming Picnic. (Photo by Ahna Hubnnik)UNT is committed to providing our students with the best education in Texas and beyond. A university defined by our creativity and caring culture, we've made remarkable advances over the last few years. We're a Tier One research university with 68 programs ranked in the Top 100, and we just completed the winningest fall season in Mean Green athletics history.

I look forward to building on the strengths of our 227 academic programs to become a next-generation research university and a leader in education innovation.

Many of our most significant strides forward have been because of the generosity of our alumni and friends. You can read in the cover story, "Impact of Giving," about some who have invested their time, heart and resources to help UNT advance and help us connect students to their dreams. Our culture of giving starts with our students and continues as a top priority for our alumni, who go on to make big impacts in their communities through their work. In this issue, you can read about Melissa Huffman, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in League City, who tracked Hurricane Harvey and helped keep those in its path safe.

I couldn't be happier about our athletics successes. The football team secured a spot to play in the Conference USA championship game and are headed to another bowl game this year. The women's soccer team won the Conference USA Tournament championship and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history. The women's volleyball team won its first-ever regular-season conference championship. And we broke ground on a soccer and track and field stadium and launched plans for a new indoor practice facility that will be tremendous assets for our student-athletes and Mean Green fans.

Have a joyous, safe holiday season. Be sure to watch our holiday video at northtexan.unt.edu/online. I hope the beauty of the season brings you happiness in the year ahead.

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