Thank you for joining us on the Schreiner University website. I hope that you capture here some of the vitality of this place and, whatever your motive for visiting, that you are prompted to come back again and turn your virtual visit into an actual one.
There continues to be much to celebrate in the 2013-2014 academic year, beginning with the record class of 299 freshmen, along with 39 more in our Greystone program. They are deeply engaged in recreating a variety of historical issues, from the politics of ancient Greece to evolutionary debate in Victorian England. Having graduated our largest group of students last year, we were delighted to welcome this new cadre, along with their returning classmates.
The role of alumni and friends in helping us continue to provide quality learning opportunities has been evident in the progress of our comprehensive campaign, which, in the second of its five years, has reached nearly 35% of its goal. A campaign like this is as multifaceted as education itself. One expression of its impact is the beautiful renovation of the main quadrangle, the old “bull ring,” which you can see in visuals on the front page of our website. As we had hoped, the quad has become an attractive place for students to linger and even for classes to meet. Combined with its predecessor project, The Commons, and the dining hall newly renovated by Chartwells, it has completed a visual turnaround of the campus center.
We remain busy not only with the physical place of learning, but with the total experience that we know you, as prospect or parent or friend, are concerned with. Last May our board approved a new major in Public Health, and we are pursuing the implementation of that degree, drawing on strength in the life sciences and management. Our freshman learning communities had excellent results last year. Participants in the 2013 Vesalius health careers group, for example, have volunteered as sophomores to mentor this year’s freshmen. A group of 36 students, faculty and staff are well launched into a year-long experience exploring how we can more proactively address the “big questions” of life in our undergraduate experience, with assistance from Teagle Foundation and Lilly Endowment grants. As one of the participants, I am excited about the power of these conversations to deepen the growth of all Schreiner students in the future.
We continue to find ways to enable families and individuals to afford a residential college experience and its opportunities for growth of character and intellect. The initiation of a partnership with Rafters this year to provide textbook rental at greatly reduced cost offers one instance of our efforts. But we also know how important such an education is and how strongly those who experience it affirm its value. That is precisely why Schreiner pays exceptional attention to balancing its commitment to quality with a close eye to managing cost. Sometimes it means working a little smarter, but frankly that is a trait that benefits any enterprise. We will not change that commitment.