Undergrad interest unparalled

EDUARDO GONZALES Senior Staff Writer

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The Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., university president, took the podium as he spoke at this year’s faculty and staff convocation, while looking towards the future regarding plans to continue to grow and improve after Hurricane Katrina.
The main topics of his speech were the increase in freshman applications received this year, the highest in the university’s history, and the Board of Trustee’s approval of the university’s goals and plans, “Loyola 2012.”
“Last year the board approved enrollment goals, for this year, of 865 new students ¬ 750 first year students and 115 transfers,” he said. “We will meet and surpass our goals. Our first year undergraduate applications were our highest levels ever. We expect more than 770 first year students and more than 120 new transfer students.”
“In planning for this year, we made an assumption that we would have a 76 percent retention of our first to second year students. At this point we expect our first to second year retention rate to be near 80 percent,” he said. “Last year, our retention rate was 73 percent, so this is an important and significant increase.”
He laid out his plan to improve the university in an effort to refresh it in the upcoming school year, but noted Loyola’s future growth is different than other schools.
“Our renewal is not typical or ordinary, as our city and region are also being renewed,” he said.
Wildes went on to thank his faculty and staff for making something difficult happen under difficult circumstances.
“The renewal of our university is happening because people have worked incredibly hard, in the midst of your own difficult circumstances, to help make this renewal possible,” Wildes said.
Last May, the Board of Trustees approved the final version of the university’s strategic plan, recently named “Loyola 2012,” after undergoing drafts and edits by the University Planning Team, University Budget Committee and Standing Council for Academic Planning.
This year, Wildes said he wants to focus on the main goals of the plan: enhancing Jesuit values, improving student retention and enhancing the reputation and stature of Loyola.
Wildes has made it his priority this year to work with the cabinet and faculty and staff to implement the strategic plan, he said.

Eduardo Gonzalez can be reached at [email protected]


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