Thursday, May 14, 2015

Celebrating Graduation and the 2014-2015 Academic Year

We just graduated over 300 new professionals Saturday, and this weekend the Enrollment Services and Student Life staff are hosting our first SWARM event for new Fall 2015 students. 

One academic year closes with pomp while the next year gears up with enthusiasm.  It seems there is little time to rest and reflect between the end of one academic year and the beginning of the next.

When I did take the luxury of stopping to reflect on 2014-2015, it was easy to list several major advancements for the university:

For the 21st time, LETU was ranked by US News in the top tier of our peer schools: #27 in the Western US region and #13 on their list of "Great Schools at Great Prices."

According to a study conducted by PayScale, LETU is second only to Rice University among Texas independent universities in ROI (return on investment). Is a college degree worth it? The answer is a resounding "Yes!" here where a LETU degree pays great dividends for students in the job market.

This year saw our largest-ever enrollments in a number of important categories:  largest graduate student enrollment, largest international student enrollment, and largest engineering school enrollment in the university's history. These results come from our work the last five years to become a university of global influence and the leading STEM university in Christian higher education.

Enhancements to our campus facilities continued last year. It was the first full year operating our beautiful Anna Lee and Sidney Allen Family Student Center. We opened three new labs for engineering students: the Keck Mobility Lab, the NSF-funded clean room microfabrication lab, and the Maker Lab.  Our new School of Nursing also opened a new nursing skills lab in MSC.

Finally, this last year saw LETU demonstrate servant leadership to East Texas. One of our own, Deena Shelton of Psychology, was named as a "2014 Emerging Leader" in Longview. The number of local high school students concurrently enrolled in LETU classwork grew significantly and our new health sciences partnership with Pine Tree ISD was welcomed enthusiastically. Our Counseling Center continues to reach out into the community with much-needed mental health services.  The Longview Chamber of Commerce flattered me with their 2015 Chairman's Award.

I'm grateful for your dedicated service that the Lord has blessed in the academic year just completed.  Now, on we go to 2015-16!