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SIUE Chancellor: Achieving National Recognition During The National Recession

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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift delivered his annual address today, highlighting the important role SIUE is playing in enhancing the economy, attracting students and increasing the diversity of its student body. Vandegrift's address, Achieving National Recognition During the National Recession, was presented in SIUE's Meridian Ballroom this morning. He said that since 2005, the University has increased the size of its incoming freshman class by 18 percent-from 1,748 to 2,065 students-while maintaining an average ACT score of 22.5.

The number of minority students at SIUE has increased along with the overall student population growth.

On the heels of achieving record enrollment for fall 2010 at 14,133 students-up 5 percent from fall 2005-Vandegrift mentioned that for the second consecutive year SIUE received national recognition among 68 universities in the "Top Up-And-Coming Schools" category by U.S.News and World Report America's Best Colleges edition. For the sixth consecutive year, U.S. News lists SIUE among 15 universities-including only four public institutions-for its outstanding capstone experiences, known at SIUE as a senior assignment program, which require students to integrate and synthesize what they have learned during their college experience.

"Our senior assignment program has contributed greatly to our emerging national recognition," Vandegrift said. "Additionally, and for seven consecutive years, we are ranked in the top tier of all Midwestern universities, including among the top 20 public Midwestern master's universities." He continued that the University has gained recognition nationally through its many rankings-as the 21st safest campus in the nation in the on-line national news magazine, Daily Beast; ranked eighth nationally by Washington Monthly among 551 master's universities for its amount of research expenditures for federal work-study hours spent on service category; and the University's growth in faculty research during the last five years, increasing from $3.1 million to $7.9 million.

Nearly 40 percent of SIUE's full-time faculty has applied for and received grants and contracts, he said.

Vandegrift also commented on the University's regional economic impact, citing a study from the faculty in the SIUE School of Business through the Department of Economics and Finance. The study of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area revealed the University has a $471 million economic impact per year on the region, indicating a 32-percent increase from five years ago.

He also pointed out that the University is the second-largest employer in the Madison-St. Clair County region, with nearly 2,500 full-time employees, while boasting a payroll of more than $130 million. Furthermore, Vandegrift remarked on the completion of more than half of a $250 million campus construction and infrastructure improvement plan, and the remaining work to be done.

"SIUE expenditures in the region for goods and services totaled nearly $66M during FY10, and we brought more than 100,000 people into the St. Louis Metropolitan Area to visit, attend athletics events, conferences and shows," he said. "But our impact on the region is not only in direct spending. Our presence generates almost 9,000 additional jobs and over $250 million of labor income in the area. We also increase state and local tax revenues by almost $23 million, and students living on campus are responsible for nearly $400,000 of state reimbursements to the city of Edwardsville.

"Furthermore, each dollar of state appropriations creates about $5 of local spending and almost $7 of economic impact."

According to the fiscal year 2010 study, more than 9,000 SIUE students indicated they are in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area because of SIUE. Also, more than 43,000 SIUE alumni live in the St. Louis area. "In short, while our buildings and land are valued at almost $900 million and our economic impact on the region is $471 million per year, perhaps the greatest impact is what we do to improve the living and working environment of our region," Vandegrift said. "When you consider the impact of the Edwardsville campus, the East St. Louis Higher Education Center and the School of Dental Medicine, SIUE plain and simple is a good deal for taxpayers."

With a recent $4.2 million gift to the University from the Lukas estate, Vandegrift explained the University will make further revisions to the Vadalabene Center to provide office space and a state-of-the-art weight lifting and conditioning center in support of the University's transition to NCAA Division I, adding space for the SIUE Department of Kinesiology and health Education. "The addition to the Vadalabene Center will coincide with the completion of our transition to Division I and the certification process we are now undergoing from the NCAA," Vandegrift said.

Starting in spring 2011, Vandegrift said that upon approval by the SIU Board of Trustees the University will renovate part of Cougar Village to create a living and learning residential community for its fraternities and sororities. It is anticipated that about 175 students will reside in the renovated buildings allowing greater contributions by Greek organizations on campus.

He also talked about the groundbreaking of the Science Building project, which is expected to be completed in fall 2012; a proposed $14 million addition to the Art and Design Building, and a $12 million addition to the Engineering Building.

Also announced were plans for the proposed SIUE Nature Preserve; a 380-acre expanse of natural area along the western edge of the campus between the campus core and along Stadium Drive and New Poag Road. The area will be protected from development and available for faculty and student research, and educational opportunities. "The preserve will be unique in the region and will position SIUE faculty to compete for research funds," Vandegrift said. "This faculty-led initiative will also facilitate inter-disciplinary collaboration and joint projects with other universities, research foundations and government agencies.

"The SIUE Nature Preserve will be another example of our University value of citizenship, which includes environmental stewardship."


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