Spring 2009 Message to Campus
Dear Ship Students, Faculty, Alumni and Friends,
I bring you greetings from Ship as we approach the beginning of Spring Break. We continue to have positive news. Enrollment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is up over last year. In Spring 2008, we had 6,114 undergraduate students and this spring we have 6,318 - up 204. In Spring 2008, we had 1,123 graduate students and this spring we have 1,167 - up 44 for a total of 248. We also saw an increase this semester in the enrollment of minority students at both levels.
This good news also continues for the fall of 2009 as applications for the new undergraduate class beginning in August have increased over the previous year. We had 6,037 applications for students who began in Fall 2008 and we have 6,230 applications for students who want to begin this August. The number of transfer students seeking admission is also up by nearly 100. Ship remains an institution of choice for students in our region and beyond.
We are happy that ticket sales continue to be strong for the outstanding performances at the Luhrs Performing Arts Center with several sellouts already and more possible. Early interest in this summer's camps and conferences is also up, with many campers wanting to attend more than one camp this summer.
Efforts also continue to inform our county, state and federal legislators about the university's successes and our need for assistance with various projects. Several of us met recently in Washington, D.C., with our U.S. representatives to seek their support. We were also happy to be able to meet with U.S. Representative Todd Platts and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, both who are proud graduates of Ship. Jeanne is the ONLY woman in the history of the U.S. to serve as both the Governor of a state and a U.S. Senator.
I have had the pleasure to share these messages with you since I joined the university and I have received very good feedback from you. In addition to these messages, we recently completed a President's Report for 2007-08 that features some of the items I have previously shared with you, as well as some new information. To make the report readily accessible, we have posted it online. You may go to the university's website at www.ship.edu and click on the link under the features section or you may go to my page at http://www.ship.edu/president to find the link on the upper right hand side. Please take time to look at the report and see why we're so proud of Ship.
Few topics are as widely discussed these days as is the current state of the economy at the national and state levels. We all await the impact of the recently approved stimulus bill as well as other measures to restore the health of the economy.
In a previous message, I told you that the university was asked to set aside more than $1.5 million from this year's funding to help the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania deal with a budget deficit predicted to be more than $2 billion. Thanks to outstanding work and cooperation throughout the campus community, we have been able to save those funds in various ways such as not filling staff vacancies, deferring some planned projects and cutting other expenditures where possible. I'm proud to say that despite these cuts, which are significant, we still maintain the core academic and support services needed for students and needed to allow faculty to help students reach their academic and personal goals.
In next year's budget for the Commonwealth, it is proposed that the appropriation for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education remain at the same level as that which we began the 2008-09 academic year. Due to expected cost increases for next year, this means the university will again face a budget shortfall. Until we know the tuition for next year, we won't know the amount of that deficit. We are already discussing ways to deal with any deficit, but it will be one of the most significant challenges the university has faced in many years. In the coming weeks and months, I'll continue to let you know more on this important topic.
On February 19, the university hosted its H.O.P.E. Scholarship dinner and lecture. H.O.P.E. stands for Helping Our People Excel. Helping is not only what we do here at Ship, it is what we believe in. Everyone at that program was impressed with the scholarship recipients and what they will eventually achieve after they earn this Ship degree. Even with the challenges we face as a nation and a world, I am confident that we can look to the future with optimism because of the hope they and all of our students provide.
Thank you for being part of Ship, and best wishes.