Students gathering for lunch in Tolliver Hall
Registration for classes closed on Tuesday afternoon, and after processing the final applications, Lori Theis of Institutional Research sent me the tally that established a record enrollment of 12,414 students. That surpassed the previous all-time high of 11,975 in 2003 and was a 10.1% increase over our Fall 2014 enrollment of 11,271. Most importantly, the number of full-time students is up and the quality of the overall freshman class took a step forward. I do not believe that ACT scores are the best measures of success or commitment, but we are most pleased that nearly 150 of our 1962 first-time full-time freshmen came with an ACT of 32 or higher, setting another record for the institution. We were also pleased to see that 88.5% of our freshmen from Louisiana are TOPS scholars with 420 of those holding Honors TOPS awards. In addition to these academic achievements by our newest students, I was also pleased to see our first-year retention rate climb to an all-time high of 80.5% and I am convinced that number will continue to improve with this new freshman class. As I have had the opportunity to interact with some of these students over the past couple of weeks, I can sense something special about this group and can’t wait to see what all they accomplish over the next four years. I am MOST grateful for the faculty and staff all across our campus for their focused efforts on recruiting and retaining students. This has truly been a team effort.
Students relaxing in Centennial Plaza between class
I was glad to be in the office all week and took the opportunity to do more planning with members of my administrative team and staff. I also had visits from students and alumni, and took some time to walk around campus to welcome students back to campus. It is important for me to hear about how things are going directly from our students. The campus is full of energy and activities, and while there are some inconveniences that go along with growth, I believe that our students are excited to be at Tech. Our job now is to ensure that each one of them is successful in getting a great education and being prepared for the challenges and opportunities that they will face in their careers.
Students gathering around companies at Career Day
On Thursday, the Career Center hosted its Fall Career Fair and I took the opportunity to walk through the Tonk to visit with students, alumni and company representatives. I have not seen the final numbers yet, but this had to be another record-setting day with companies located throughout the first and second floors of the Tonk and students lined up in large numbers to meet with the companies. I appreciate our staff who place such a priority on making this a great experience for everyone, and I was most proud to see so many of our Tech students walking through the Tonk wearing their suits and formal business dress.
Alumna Nyssa Briggs representing Confidence
Late Thursday, I had a visit from one of our engineering alumna who returned for a brief visit and tour of the Davison Athletics Complex. Nyssa Briggs happened to be the person selected to represent the Tech Tenet “Confidence” on the special graphic display in the Club area. Nyssa was an outstanding student and actively engaged in activities ranging from Ecomarathon car competitions to the Waterboarding club. She is a great representative of what Tech is all about and I am so pleased that she was selected to represent one of our Tenets.
Breakfast with Emery Brown, Willie Larkin & others
Friday morning, I hosted a breakfast for Dr. Emery Brown, a professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and a Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT, who was visiting campus to give a presentation and meet with our faculty and students. I was pleased to have Grambling State President Willie Larkin join us for the breakfast. We appreciate the opportunities to explore collaborations with these institutions and to find new ways to bring value to our faculty and students.