As we wrap up another successful academic year at Methodist University, we congratulate the Class of 2014, our largest class of undergraduate and graduate students in the university’s history. We were honored to have members of the first graduating class in attendance as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1964 with 17 of the 43 original class members on campus to participate in the hooding ceremony.
Throughout the year, we are committed to a “culture of excellence” at the University in everything we do. Let me share just a few highlights that have helped “redefine excellence” for everyone associated with Methodist and have set the stage for a bright future as we move forward:
- In addition to a record enrollment (2,478), we experienced a record number of residential students (nearly 1,100) and international students (150 from 55 different countries).
- The graduation of the first cohort of students from our new Nursing Program and the Master of Education program.
- Progress on our first doctoral program in Physical Therapy and the receipt of a naming gift from the Thomas R. and Elizabeth E. McLean Foundation for our new Health Sciences Building.
- New majors in Entrepreneurship and Applied Forensic Science and further development of our Cyber Security and Digital Forensics program, thus responding to increased interest in these areas by prospective students and employers. This demonstrates Methodist’s continued commitment to creating and expanding academic programs to meet demands from current and potential stakeholders.
- The opening of the newly renovated Library and expanded Trustees Building.
- A spectacular Igneous Expressions glass exhibit and Picasso ceramics show in the David McCune International Art Gallery.
- Holding the third annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium, featuring student’s research projects, and the addition this year of a graduate and faculty component to the program.
- Winning the USA South Athletic Conference Overall and Men’s President’s Cups after winning conference championships in football, men’s soccer, and women’s tennis along with strong seasons in our other sports. Women’s tennis and women’s and men’s golf also qualified for the NCAA national championship competition.
- Kicking off our $35 million Building Excellence Campaign with over $25 million raised. This would not have been possible without the generosity of so many individuals and organizations who believe in the mission of our University.
- Hosting Dr. Sanjay Gupta as the inaugural speaker in the Presidential Speaker Series.
There have been so many memorable moments this year at Methodist, but none surpass the expressions I saw on the faces of the graduates and their sponsors as they crossed the stage at Commencement to be hooded and receive their diplomas. The true measure of excellence at a University should be the success of its students, beginning with their undergraduate experience, followed by earning their degrees and embarking on their chosen careers or graduate school. The expressions that day conveyed a mixture of pride, accomplishment, sadness in leaving MU, and excitement about what lies ahead. These are the ones who will go on to “redefine excellence” in the next leg of their journey, fully equipped to do so, thanks to their MU Journey.
Indeed, I have the Best Job in America, as our University meets America’s needs while raising the bar on excellence. Record enrollment, record graduates, and record financial support confirm we are getting it right where it matters the most—providing transformational experiences and preparing tomorrow’s leaders.