This Way Forward

Resiliency guides UNT family in tackling the biggest issues of our time.
UNT President Neal Smatresk
UNT President Neal Smatresk

Fall at UNT looks a bit different than in the past, with masks, social distancing, attendance limitations at Apogee Stadium and virtual events to protect the safety of our UNT community during this global pandemic, but we remain focused on our mission of educating and empowering students to thrive in our rapidly changing world. And I'm excited to welcome our record-breaking fall enrollment of nearly 41,000 students to engage in a blended class format -- 60% of which are online and 40% that have some in-person class component. This will be the most uniquely challenging year in our 130-year history, but I trust in our resilient nature to handle whatever comes our way.

Our students, faculty, staff and alumni are changemakers, accustomed to working hard to make an impact in their communities and our world. As you will read in this issue, many in our UNT family are tackling some of the biggest issues of our time, including social justice, COVID-19 and racial equality. Our "Justice for All" cover story highlights alumni who have focused their careers and volunteer work on the rights of marginalized communities. Immigration lawyer John Ting ('06) has spent more than 400 hours providing pro bono legal services, and master's student Andrea Masambra ('17) credits her classes, internships, campus jobs and leadership positions for helping her succeed as a diversity and inclusion practitioner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

UNT's creative ingenuity extends to our faculty and students' research. Many of them pivoted their focus this spring to address issues related to the global health crisis. The "2020 Vision" feature highlights some of these efforts, such as chemistry professor Andrés Cisneros' computer simulations meant to identify specific protein inhibitors that could slow or stop the COVID-19 virus either as a vaccine or a therapeutic treatment.

As a university, we are continuing the critical work initiated earlier this year to advance diversity and inclusion on our campus, and to become a caring and compassionate leader in the fight against racism and bias. We are adapting to a new way of living, learning and working together. And our faculty and staff are doing all they can to make sure this is a safe and successful year for our students, alumni and the entire Mean Green family as we continue to move forward together.

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