(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift delivered his annual address Wednesday; this year titled Defining Excellence through Institutional Leadership.
In his Report to the University in SIUE’s Meridian Ballroom, Vandegrift told the University community, neighboring community leaders, legislators and guests, that the news is good when it comes to the current freshman class and total enrollment. The University received nearly 8,000 freshman applications for fall enrollment and increased its freshman enrollment by nearly 200 students. Thirty percent of freshmen scored 25 or greater on the ACT, compared with a quarter of the 2004 entering freshman class. SIUE’s average ACT score among freshmen for fall 2008 was 22.64. Vandegrift introduced a multi-faceted scholarship program to offer new merit and need-based financial assistance opportunities to students starting in fall 2009, as well as lower tuition rates to high-achieving out-of-state students, will make attending The “e” even more affordable.
Vandegrift noted that for the fourth consecutive year, SIUE has been recognized by U.S.News and World Report in the senior capstone experience category, among 17 universities—including Yale, Harvard, MIT and Princeton—for its comprehensive program measuring the competency of graduating seniors. The University also has been listed in the publication among the top 10 public universities in the Midwest-Master’s category for the second consecutive year—this year also among the top one-third of all public and private Midwestern universities.
“The ‘e’ has momentum,” Vandegrift said. “SIUE continues to develop as a first-tier, first-choice destination school for many Illinois and Metropolitan area families.”
He said the next transition in the University’s development “should be that we take a leadership role as a model teacher-scholar comprehensive master’s institution in higher education. Our vision for national recognition begins with the development of solid citizens who graduate from this institution wiser than when they arrived, inspired to engage in public service, enlivened with a passion for culture, the arts and life-long learning and committed to a better world,” he said. The chancellor also praised the SIUE School of Business, featured among the Princeton Review’s Best 296 Business Schools: 2009 Edition.
Curricula enhancements, including the establishment of the new Academic Advancement Center, the continued empowerment of faculty and the strengthening of partnerships within the community through ventures such as the University initiated SIUeDay fundraiser were highlighted during the 30-minute address. He also spoke about the Student Success Center addition to the Morris University Center, which has been championed by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Narbeth Emmanuel.
Between summer 2004 and summer 2009, $130 million in infrastructure renovations and building projects will be completed he said, adding: “SIUE is in the midst of its largest building phase since the initial construction of the campus began in 1958.” Obtaining funding through a state capital bill to expand and renovate the University’s Science Building continues to be a major priority, he said.
Academically, Vandegrift stressed that producing tomorrow’s citizen-leaders begins today in the classroom and on campus. He acknowledged the contributions of the SIUE faculty, noting that strengthening programs is essential to sending competent graduates into the world to take on leadership roles. He also highlighted: