President Nick J. Bruno presented several academic achievements, upcoming projects and a few challenges as he gave his sixth State of the University address Thursday morning to faculty, staff and community members in Brown Auditorium.
Bruno shared that this is so far, the “most optimistic” of the six addresses he has made. “From where I sit, I can see where we have come over some very tough years,” Bruno said.
Bruno has staunch plans for the coming years. “ULM is striving for SREB Four 2 status,” Bruno said.
This status will give ULM a ranking that puts it among the top 200 universities nationally for excellence in teaching, research and innovation with emphasis on the health sciences Bruno said.
He further added that the College of Osteopathic Medicine is expected to accept the first class by the summer of 2020.
Bruno said that numbers have reached new heights of approximately 9,309 compared to 9,115 last year regarding 2017 enrollment. That’s an increase of 194 students.
Bruno appreciated the University Honors program which has seen a very rapid progress from its establishment.
Currently, 220 students are enrolled in the program, “the largest ever”, up from 24 in 2011.
Bruno said this has been a very tough year financially in the state because of cuts in higher education.
“We are doing everything we can to keep higher education very viable and very productive,” Bruno said.
Bruno further stated the university operating budget for the fiscal year will see a change of 3.1%.
The change is a result of a $1 million raise in mandated costs, $1 million raise in scholarship and $1.2 million contingency for the potential mid-year cut.
Bruno reminded the crowd that the campus has reached beyond the classrooms to serve the community.
The university provides $19 million through health sciences program serving 44,649 clients, $1.4 million through business serving 308 clients and $20.6 million through 3,119 internship programs.
Furthermore, Bruno also took the chance to welcome 40 new faculty and staff members to the Warhawk family.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Eric Pani shared the stage with Bruno to honor 4 faculty and 2 staff members with the award of excellence for their extraordinary service to the university.
Susan Hoffmann, the president of ULM Foundation said the heart of the university is those people who touch the students every day.
“The foundation staff has been having an incredibly successful year, and we have added some very enthusiastic and committed individuals who love ULM and are intended in raising more money so that we can help more students,” Hoffmann said.
Sarah Mouton, Director of Alumni Affairs, said the Office of the Alumni Affairs is extremely proud to be a part of the “incredible growth” of the university.
“With so many successful alumni in our 86-year history, they are the university’s greatest ambassadors,” Mouton said.
“With branding efforts honoring the past, but looking forward to the future, we anticipate that more will reconnect with us and continue to advocate for ULM.”