Remarks to the Board of Regents

September 16, 2008

I would like to thank the Ypsilanti and EMU community of friends, alumni, faculty, students and employees for their support and warm welcome during my first two months in office. The new students' FUSION orientation was a great experience from move-in, to fajita fest, to ending convocation. I have enjoyed meeting faculty, staff, and students and visiting many offices on campus to learn more about EMU. I have hosted several events at the University House including the kick-off event for the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival and a student-athlete reception. I plan many more activities to utilize this great asset to promote EMU and serve our community.

We welcome our new students 2,216 freshman, 77 dual enrollment, 1,618 transfers and 1,239 graduate students for a total of 5,150 new students. Our new graduate enrollment is up 4.4 percent in headcount and 5.8 percent in credit hours from last Fall. We achieved great gains in enrollment this Summer as many at EMU worked hard to increase our enrollment and reach out to returning and new students. Despite a decline overall in enrollment of around 3 percent in credit hours, our housing is fuller than it was last Fall with 2,925 in our halls and 385 in our apartments (a 20 percent increase in apartments). Our freshmen living centers have new furniture and Hill Hall was renovated this summer which increased their functionality and attractiveness to students (including larger beds and flat-panel TVs in lounge areas). Campus dining has experienced a growth in sales of over $85,000 or 38 percent in just the first few weeks of the Fall semester. My thanks go to all of the hard work by our employees to generate this great start to our academic year.

Our goal for enrollment and for the institution overall is stability. During this academic year, I have issued a 5,000 credit hour challenge to the campus to begin rebuilding our enrollment, which is down about 50,000 credit hours from its peak of 567,995 in 2002-03. That represents a decline of $17,000,000 in tuition revenue. Our State appropriation increased 1 percent this year but, at $78 million, it is still $9 million less than the $87 million it peaked at a few years ago. Our future fiscal stability lies in a stable pattern of enrollment growth and an increase in our endowments and sponsored research, grants and contracts.

The vision of EMU is to be the institution of choice. Key values of EMU that I will emphasize in my first year as President are accountability, integrity, management (getting things done!) and service to our students and to our community.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Homecoming activities and at our football game against Northern Illinois on Saturday, September 27 at noon and to a productive and exciting year at EMU.