As spring has folded into summer, let’s reflect on our accomplishments and look forward to the coming academic year. And wow…what a year! Last fall marked the sixth year in a row of record enrollment and a record freshman of 12,834 students. At the same time, we saw record fundraising and continued success in The New West capital campaign. Our economic impact on the region reached a record high of more than $518 million. We won big on the athletic field with three conference championships in men’s football and basketball and women’s track and field. We also earned another national championship in cheerleading. We were named the University System of Georgia’s Institution of the Year and U.S. News and World Report ranked five of our programs among the top 100 in the nation. Our Mass Communication Department earned the 2016 Regent's Teaching Excellence Award for Departments and Programs. We received a AASCU national award in Leadership Development for Engage West. And The Engage West! Employee Engagement Survey gave us continued reflection on our progress to become the best place to work, learn, and succeed. We enjoyed faculty success, including a Guggenheim Fellowship; student success, including international individual and team awards, including the top prize in the country for undergraduate research at the National Technology and Social Science Conference to name only a few.
As we look to the fall of 2016, we continue to track toward record enrollment. targeting more than 13,300 students. We will see continued growth in all student constituencies – including first-time freshmen, Move on When Ready (or dual enrollment) students, transfers, and graduate students. The Carroll County Education Collaborative will implement active engagement to further K-16 success and look to expand to contiguous counties. We will surpass $30 million in the New West Campaign with continued focus to our ultimate goal of $50 million. We will begin construction and renovation of our biology building. Online innovation will expand with UWG's development and implementation of eCampus for the University System of Georgia and continue to grow eCore well above 10,000 students and counting. We will celebrate the first full year of Dine West, our self-operated dining services providing student food services and catering for the entire campus. In partnership with the City of Carrollton, Tanner and Southwire Company, we will introduce a comprehensive Bicycle Share Program using the Greenbelt as our geographical link. And finally – hear it from me first – we will win our first national championship in football.
So much has been accomplished and so much will be accomplished in the coming year! At the center and the continued focus of these accomplishments will be our student's success. Thank you for your all you have done and will be doing to help UWG become the best comprehensive university in America, sought after as the best place to work, learn, and succeed. It doesn't seem so far away…does it?