October 21, 2010
It’s a beautiful fall at Northwest, and I hope you’ve marked your calendar for Oct. 29-30 for yet another fun-filled Homecoming in Maryville. I look forward to seeing you and quite possibly meeting our next generation of Bearcats!
As you know, at Northwest we talk a great deal about engagement, and it’s certainly a differentiator in terms of our culture and outstanding results. In the last several weeks, we’ve set some impressive marks, and they are tributes to an engaged Bearcat Nation – which includes our alumni and friends – focused on success.
For instance, we honored six outstanding individuals Oct. 1 at the Alumni Awards Banquet, which drew a record crowd! Congratulations to our distinguished recipients Dr. Bob Bohlken; Dennis Bunch '69, '76; Dr. Rafiq Islam; Jealaine Vaccaro Marple '00; Elenora Reaksecker; and Mel Tyler '80, '85 on their well-deserved recognition and for exhibiting the Bearcat hallmark of excellence.
In addition, at the Bearcat football game earlier this month against Missouri Western, we set an attendance record – 10,805 people at Bearcat Stadium – and a record victory. The football squad’s 42-0 win was the first time Northwest held Missouri Western scoreless in 30 meetings and the first time the Griffons had been shut out since 1997.
Furthermore, we celebrated the history of our Administration Building and the work of one of our graduate students, Jason Williamson, whose research made the building’s addition to the National Register of Historic Places possible. The Administration Building is indeed a centering place for our faculty and staff members, our students, our alumni and all who visit Northwest. It is a symbol of Northwest pride, longevity and perseverance.
I’m also happy to report that Northwest just released record-breaking enrollment figures for the fall 2010 trimester. Our total student headcount is 7,142, but just as impressive is that our freshmen have a success rate of 72 percent, compared to the state average of 65 percent for other moderately selective institutions in the state, and our graduation rate is 58 percent, while the national average for similar institutions is 45 percent. In our most recent employment survey, 95 percent of respondents report finding employment or continuing their education within six months of graduating. All of these factors and so many more – including the time, talent and treasures provided by dedicated Northwest alumni – help attract new students, keep them coming back and allow them to be successful. Thank you!
But we cannot rest on our laurels. Earlier this month, Dr. David R. Russell, interim commissioner of the Missouri Department of Higher Education, visited Northwest. In a campus forum he said there are some signs the economic distress on state revenue has hit its low point, but he also said there are still challenges ahead. Provost Doug Dunham is overseeing a review of academic programs currently in conjunction with the MDHE’s statewide study, and we are analyzing additional opportunities for collaboration with other institutions. This is a unique time for our country, our state and for our University, and with your continued support and dedication, Northwest will be well-prepared for a strong future.
Remember, once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat!
Dr. John Jasinski