That good news came in conjunction with HSU’s announcement of the largest gift commitment in the university’s history. Will and Janice Wilkins are the donors of the historic $16 million gift. Mr. Wilkins is also the chairman of the TRANSFORMATION 2020 capital campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history. HSU has already raised about 47% of the campaign’s first phase goal.
Part of the long-term goal includes a commitment to increase students to 2700 by 2020. Some of the projected growth in students hinges on HSU’s commitment to freshmen and transfer students that freezes their tuition rate at the first year level.
This semester marks the 21th year for the HSU Commitment to students. Hall says, “HSU’s tuition freeze policy also means that the value of any scholarships students receive continue to maintain the same value. One of the comforting things to parents about the tuition guarantee is that we assure our students there will be no surprises. Parents and students know the very first year what the cost of their degree will be.”
Vice President for Enrollment Management, Vicki House, says HSU will continue to communicate commitment to affordability with its tuition rate freeze, adding that HSU is in a tiny minority of universities in the nation where tuition does not increase to current full-time students.
Areas of growth for HSU include the sciences, theatre, extension programs in the Logsdon School of Theology and Seminary, and graduate programs in the School of Education and the Kelley College of Business. New students have been attracted to HSU’s newest graduate level programs, the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in leadership and a new specialized M.B.A. in sports management.
Theatre has grown significantly over the last three years. Contributing to its health is the addition of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, added two years ago. The degree encompasses three new areas: musical theatre, performance, and design/technical theatre.
HSU’s Logsdon Seminary has witnessed a dramatic student increase, up 90% over the last ten years. Dr. Don Williford, dean of Logsdon School of Theology and Seminary, reports an all-time high head count this semester with 132 students enrolled in all three of its post-graduate level programs, the Doctor of Ministry (DMin), Master of Divinity (MDiv), and the Master of Arts in Family Ministry (MAFM).
Dr. Chris McNair, dean of the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics and professor of biology, says the number of students majoring in biology has steadily increased as interest in health care professions grows. “Speech pathology majors have also increased significantly over the last two years and many of our undergrads have plans to continue on to advanced degrees in environmental management and the HSU Physical Therapy Doctoral program.”
HSU’s new Forensic Studies minor, which includes courses from biology, computer science, criminal justice and psychology, is proving to be an attractive addition to the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts. Dr. Alan Stafford, dean of the college, says one of the most popular courses is Introduction to Criminal Justice, claiming the largest enrollment this fall in liberal arts classes. Stafford says criminal justice has also grown to be one of the largest pre-professional programs in liberal arts with over 100 students claiming majors and minors in the area.
Athletic director, John Neese, says, “This is the sixth consecutive year, we will have over 400 student-athletes participating in our program. The football team started the year with 160 players. Baseball, men’s golf, and tennis have notable increases over last year with volleyball, soccer, and softball scoring significant growth over the last several years. Neese says, “Our coaches work hard to identify and recruit students who prefer a challenging academic environment to complement their athletic experience at HSU.”
While TRANSFORMATION 2020 is seeking to increase enrollment numbers by about 400 students in just seven years, its more immediate goal seeks to realize gifts of $60 million to complete the first phase of a master plan that will dramatically alter the face of the Hardin-Simmons University campus.