| Ivany Gives State of the University Address |
President Dr. Robert Ivany addressed University leadership and supporters recently at his inaugural State of the University presentation.
Ivany described the current state of higher education as “turbulent,” citing factors such as the increasing popularity of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), rising tuition and changing demographics.
He pledged that UST is addressing these challenges while remaining steadfast in its commitment to personalized learning and the “Basilian advantage” of strong core classes, respectful dialogue between faith and reason, and ongoing leadership opportunities for students.
Ivany provided an enrollment update, informing the group that UST’s undergraduate enrollment stands at 1,506; however, the number of graduate students doubled in the past five years to 1,785—with 291 students enrolled at St. Mary’s Seminary.
He addressed the issue of freshmen retention at UST, which is currently 77 percent, and said that UST is responding with minimal tuition increases (from 5.1 percent to 4.3 percent) and more financial aid (from $11.6 million to $13.4 million) for deserving students. Last year, 95 percent of students received financial aid, and the average discount rate was 50.9 percent.
In discussing UST’s many successes, Ivany included the growth of UST’s endowment—from $41.8 million in 2009 to $73.7 million in 2013; the high acceptance rates of UST students into medical, law and engineering schools; and the success of new academic programs, including Nursing and Computer Science; and novel degree programs, such as the PhD and MA in Thomistic Studies and the MA in Faith and Culture.
Ivany also discussed strategies for growth of academic programs, including satellite campuses and online learning; and increased marketing efforts, such as the TV series UST Worldview and expanded parish outreach.
Campus growth and facility enhancements were key topics of the address as well. David Harvey, vice chair of the UST Board of Directors, spoke about campus enhancement and the significant role of Faith in Our Future: The Campaign for the University of St. Thomas, of which Harvey is chair.
Faith in Our Future is focused on three critical priorities, according to Harvey: Health and Science, including a new Center for Science and Health Professions; Student Success, primarily, enhanced support for student scholarships; and Creative Community, the construction of a new Performing Arts and Conference Center.
Also joining Ivany and Harvey were fellow presenters Kelli Kickerillo, UST alumna and chair of the Development Committee; Rev. Mike Buentello, CSB, Basilian Superior/Campus Ministry Director; Dr. Poldi Tschirch, dean, School of Nursing; Dominic Aquila, vice president, Academic Affairs; and student Kyna Hogan, BS ’16.