First, we welcomed a stellar cohort of new undergraduate and graduate students. The 745 new freshmen and transfer students who joined us this fall come from as nearby as Hoboken, New Jersey, as far away as Irvine, California, and from 22 other states and 12 countries around the world. The academic profile of our new class is on par with some of the most prestigious universities in the U.S., with the middle 50% SAT scores of 1260 to 1400. In addition to a steady increase in SAT scores, a diversification in the disciplines represented in our undergraduate student body is also occurring, with increased enrollment in the School of Business, the College of Arts and Letters and the new Biology major, in particular.
We also welcomed a new cohort of 1,100 graduate students. The academic profile of our graduate population also continues to increase, andwe achieved a six-point increase in graduate selectivity this year, admitting 58% of all graduate applicants. We continue to move to an increasingly full-time graduate enrollment, and our new class of master’s and Ph.D. students comes not only from across the U.S., but from countries ranging from Canada, France and Hong Kong to China, India, Greece and Ghana.
As we closed out our 2015 fiscal year over the summer months, we celebrated some record-breaking achievements:
· Research awards increased sharply, to $42.9 million in FY15 compared to $30.4 million in the previous fiscal year. A total of 87 new awards (compared to 112 last year) were made to Stevens from prestigious agencies such as the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
· Philanthropic support also reached an all-time high for Stevens: a total of $28.6 million was contributed by Stevens alumni and friends in FY15, as compared to $22.6 million last year. This total represents a 508% increase in giving since FY11. Equally important, we achieved a major turnaround in the alumni participation rate, to 18%, and up three percentage points over two years ago. This important metric is a tangible symbol of the pride alumni feel in their alma mater, and the investment our community is making to help Stevens realize its potential as a premier, student-centric research university.
· As of the current date, we have achieved a 97% first-year retention rate, one percentage point above last year’s record. This statistic is evidence of the high caliber of students being recruited to Stevens as well as the efforts we have initiated to support them once they join the Stevens family. This is also an important data point as we monitor progress toward our strategic goal to increase the six-year graduation rate to 83% by Fall of 2017. As of today, our six-year graduation rate for the class that entered in Fall 2009 is 82%.
· Our faculty body is currently at its highest point in history, with 156 tenured/tenure-track and 135 full-time non-tenured/tenure-track faculty, for a total of 291 full-time faculty, as compared to a total of 263 full-time faculty last fall.
Other important highlights that will provide added momentum for our community for the 2015-16 academic year include:
· Congratulations to Dean Prastacos and the hard working faculty who achieved the accreditation of the Stevens School of Businessby the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This is a critical step in the growth and increased prestige of the School of business at Stevens!
· SU+RE House, our entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, is en route via several tractor trailer trucks to Irvine, California for the competition October 8-18, 2015. During construction, this project has received widespread media coverage, including in a Popular Science blog and from News12NJ and WCBS. Our team is hoping to win it all this year, so please join me in rooting for them and following the results online.
· The President’s Distinguished Lecture Series will feature two internationally-recognized speakers this year. On Oct. 7th, Ms. Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Chief Investment Officer in the Private Wealth Management Group at Goldman Sachs will present,The Art and Science of Quantitative Tools in Investment Management. We are expecting a capacity crowd, so please register in advance. And, please hold March 16, 2016 for the next President’s Distinguished Lecture featuring General Michael Hayden, retired U.S. Air Force four-star general, former director of the National Security Agency, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the CIA.
· On Nov. 19th, Stevens will receive the New Jersey Technology Council Knowledge is Poweraward. The NJTC is New Jersey’s premier statewide action and technology advocacy organization.
A variety of recent rankings demonstrate that Stevens’ upward trajectory is getting noticed:
· U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 College rankings listed Stevens #75 (compared to #76 in the 2015 issue) in the National Universities category, tied with six other universities.
· We were 10th in the nation for mid-career salary of graduates in PayScale’s 2015-16 College Salary Report (up from #12 last year) and #5 in Payscale.com’s Best Engineering Schools by Salary Potential.
· Stevens was #7 in the nation in the 2015 USA Today list of the top 10 engineering colleges in the U.S.
· Stevens ranked #17 in the nation according to the 2015 Affordable Schools list of the 50 Most Entrepreneurial Schools in America.
· Kiplinger’s Personal Finance listed Stevens #30 in the category of Top 100 Values in Private Universities in its 2015 list of Best College Values, up from #85 last year.
· Money magazine rated Stevens #48 in its 2015 list of Best Colleges.
· Stevens was selected as one of 50 "Colleges That Create Futures,” a 2015 compilation by The Princeton Review of universities that launch careers by going beyond the classroom.
We are making progress on many, many fronts, from renovations and additions such as the new American Bureau of Shipping civil-mechanical-naval engineering laboratory at the Davidson Laboratory, classroom renovations, campus landscaping, IT upgrades, including the new High Performance Computing Center, the launch of the Virtual Learning Environment, and implementation of state of the art academic and administrative systems such as Canvas and Workday.
I offer my most sincere appreciation to all the members of the Stevens community—faculty, administration, staff, alumni, and students—for all that each of you has done to advance Stevens toward our goal to become a premier, student-centric technological research university. We have made tremendous progress thanks to your efforts and hard work. With your continued dedication, we will achieve and exceed the goals the community targeted in our 2012 Strategic Plan, The Future. Ours to Create.
Thank you for your commitment and your friendship.
Per aspera ad astra,