The final month of summer is upon us and Fall Semester is just three weeks away. Faculty and staff are busy making final preparations, we are closing the books on our last fiscal year, and we’re finishing up year-end reports.
All eyes are focused on enrollment for Fall. While we expect it to be down over last year, I am pleased with the efforts of so many on retention and bringing in the new class. At the same time, we have launched our new strategic enrollment plan for Fall 2018. The new financial aid model—addressing affordability and access—is almost ready to go and early responses to it are very positive. Our admissions and financial aid teams are also ready to roll out new rebranded messaging and marketing materials.
New Academic Programs and Facilities
I am excited about the new Honors College and new majors in outdoor Education and Leadership and Sports Management. Enrollment in the Honors College is up 50 percent and interest in the new majors is also strong.
An extensive renovation has been completed in the nursing skills lab, and a new digital art space on the top floor of Converse Hall is almost finished too.
The proposed $13 million addition to the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts received a boost in early July with an additional gift from the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, bringing the total raised to $6.8 million.
Fundraising and Endowment
While fiscal year-end fundraising results are still being audited, the advancement team announced they raised $11.2 million in 2016–17, pushing the campaign total for three years to $???? Million. The endowment fund also hit a new record high of $77 million thanks to new gifts and strong investment results during the past year.
NCAA Division II
In July, the NCAA announced that Westminster’s athletics program can move to the third and final year in our transition to becoming a fully participating member in NCAA Division II.
With the start of Fall Semester comes orientation, move-in, and Convocation. This year, due to the historic solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, the faculty retreat has been rescheduled to Friday, August 25. The Back-to-School BBQ for faculty and staff will also be on Friday, August 25. Invitations with further details will be coming soon.
Last week, as I was walking across campus, I met six wonderful nursing alums celebrating an early 50th class reunion. Several of them hadn’t been to campus since they graduated in 1967. As I reminisced with them about all of the changes that have occurred at Westminster in that time, I was reminded of the many things that stayed the same. They talked about the faculty they knew, living in Hogle Hall, taking classes in Converse, and dining with their friends on campus. They discussed the impact Westminster had on their lives and the core values that have remained the same. They were incredibly proud of their alma mater and the progress we have made, but also still grateful for the tradition and values we hold true.
In three weeks, we will welcome over 500 new students as they begin their life-changing learning experience at Westminster. I hope you will all take time to remember how noble this work is as we work toward making next year one of our very best.