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Arizona Edition: NAU President on being Arizona's "access college" (and Bill Gates)

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Arizona Edition

Making college a good value.

That's what drives José Luis Cruz Rivera as he wraps his second academic year as Northern Arizona University President.

Cruz Rivera believes a college degree should be accessible, affordable, and provide economic mobility to the recipient. The NAU president also says a college is responsible to the communities they serve and that means being present, engaging in dialogue, and focusing on local needs.

Cruz Rivera says that is why you may have seen NAU researchers, students, and volunteers in recent years engaging in work and community projects far from the main college campus in Flagstaff.

On this episode of KAWC's Arizona Edition, Cruz Rivera talks about reshaping the college experience, his view of NAU as a start-up, and getting the attention of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates was the recipient of an honorary doctorate at ceremonies in early May and wrote a blog post about what he thinks NAU is getting right in its approach to higher education titled: Why I'm going to Northern Arizona University.

We also hear about two new degree programs that will begin at the NAU-Yuma campus, one this fall, the other in the year after.

Partnering with Arizona Western College, NAU plans to speed up the program to train new nurses in Yuma and is making plans to offer a mechanical engineering degree program at the Yuma campus as well.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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