President Kim Schatzel reflects on Towson University’s top achievements and impacts in 2017.
I am pleased to report that Towson University is starting 2018 stronger than ever. In 2017 we achieved record-breaking accomplishments and delivered the outcomes that higher education is meant to achieve. As we begin a new year, I’d like to reflect on a few of our top 2017 achievements.
The fall 2017 incoming class of almost 6,000 new students was the largest in TU’s history, one of the most academically prepared, and the most diverse ever, with more than 46 percent identifying as a racial minority and 24 percent as African American. This record class propelled TU to another first—the fall 2017 enrollment of 22,705 was the largest in our university’s history.
In 2017, Towson University jumped four spots in U.S. News & World Report rankings to place in the top 10 of public regional universities in the north. The placement echoes similar rankings by Washington Monthly, which ranked TU the highest public university in the state, and Money magazine, which placed TU among the nation’s best colleges, joining Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park as the highest-ranked institutions in Maryland.
In 2017 women’s lacrosse advanced to post-season NCAA play, men’s lacrosse won the CAA Championship for the third consecutive year and advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the third time in their history, and women’s track and field won their first CAA Championship. Women’s volleyball embarked on a record-breaking winning streak which earned them their first post-season appearance in more than ten years, and men’s basketball had the best start in their Division 1 history. Best of all, Towson University student-athletes finished with the highest single year, four-year average graduation rate and the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for student-athletes in all Division I University System of Maryland (USM) institutions.
In the last academic year (2016-17), TU conferred 5,584 degrees—a 35 percent increase since 2006-07. More than 2,300 students received degrees at our 2017 winter commencement ceremonies, outpacing the previous year’s class by more than six hundred students! These large graduating classes are being driven by increased retention and graduation rates. And our new alumni are already using their degrees and their ambition on behalf of others throughout the region, helping provide critical skills in Maryland and beyond. Approximately 1 in 3 Maryland teachers and one in five Maryland health professionals are TU graduates.
This fall, a team of faculty in the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics (FCSM) won a landmark $3.9 million grant to expand cybersecurity programs, building on TU’s designation as one of just 19 National Centers of Excellence. The College of Education received a $2.1 million grant to enhance teacher training to better serve English language learners in the classroom. Two additional grants—both worth in excess of $1 million—will advance minority students in STEM fields and biomedical research fields. Winning increasingly competitive, high-impact grants is a sign of the world-class research and discovery happening at Towson University.
This fall we began construction on our New Science Complex, a world class facility to support modern scientific research and discovery on TU’s campus. When the new Science Complex opens in fall 2020, it will be the largest academic building on campus—even larger than the College of Liberal Arts—and more than 10,000 students will take classes there each year. The year 2017 marked the completion of an expanded and renovated Burdick Hall, which has doubled in size with 94,000 additional square feet housing new athletic courts, yoga and cycling studios. TU also continued to make progress on our complete renovation of the Residence Tower. In total, nearly $700 million will be invested into TU’s campus over the next seven years—an amazing investment from the state and system which says much about TU’s future.
In 2017 Towson University strengthened its reputation as a regional anchor and sought after partner. We surpassed 325 BTU partnerships at work for Greater Baltimore and entered into key relationships to expand our reach as an economic catalyst for the state. TU became the first and only non-city entity partnering with the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP), a coalition dedicated to improving the equity, economy and communities in Baltimore. We also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the TU Incubator, which has supported more than 80 companies and produced more than $150 million in economic impact over the last decade.
Towson University’s achievements are a result of the tireless work and support of our students, faculty, staff, donors, partners, volunteers and board members. Thank you for leading Towson University to a record-breaking 2017. There is much to be proud of at Towson University, and there are truly great things ahead!