Methodist University announced it welcomed one of the largest student enrollments in University history at its Fall Opening Convocation on Aug. 26. President Ben Hancock Jr. also announced that the Campaign for Methodist University – Building Excellence has almost reached $39 million, surpassing its $35 million goal. The final campaign figure will be announced in October, when the University celebrates the official end of the largest capital campaign in its history.
“Methodist University has a total enrollment of 2,499 students this semester,” Hancock said. “That is almost a record total enrollment, and it includes a record number of graduate students and a record number of international students, with 205 undergraduate students coming from 68 different countries. Thanks to our new Doctor of Physical Therapy Program welcoming its second cohort of students this year, our graduate student enrollment has grown to 280 students.”
New students began classes Monday after a four-day orientation, which also included a group service project. On Saturday, Aug. 20, the incoming freshmen packed 100,000 meals for nonprofit international aid organization Stop Hunger Now. Orientation wrapped up Sunday evening with the New Monarchs Banquet, where students were formally introduced to the University Honor Code and received pins or bracelets with the University Seal.
“Methodist continues to benefit from its signature people, programs and facilities,” Hancock said. “Our culture of excellence is defined by the outstanding faculty and staff who put students first while delivering a relevant and distinctive education. The record numbers again this year are evidence that Methodist continues to get it right.”
In his State of the University address, Hancock also spoke about initiatives and celebrations that will be underway this year, like the 60th anniversary of the University’s charter. He announced the creation of a task force to formalize the Institute for Sport Science and Wellness, chaired by Associate Professor of Physical Education and Exercise Science Dr. Jamie Robbins and Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Brandon Reynolds.
Methodist was founded Nov. 1, 1956, when then-named Methodist College was chartered by the state of North Carolina as a senior, coeducational, residential college of liberal arts and sciences. The University will be marking this anniversary all year, but especially during the days surrounding MU’s Homecoming weekend, Oct. 21-22. This year, the University is also celebrating its newest program, Engineering, which recently received its formal approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University has seen success in fundraising over the past year with record numbers of overall donors, record alumni giving, and faculty and staff giving. The University continues to build new facilities funded by the Campaign for Methodist University – Building Excellence. The University will break ground on the Gene Clayton Tennis Center in September and on the Sharon and Ron Matthews Ministry Center in December.
This October, the University will also mark the 20th anniversary of the Physician Assistant (PA) Program, with a special PA alumni event on Oct. 8. The PA Program received 623 applications* for admission this year for the 40 available slots offered in each new cohort.
The DPT and PA programs are two of several programs in the School of Health Sciences, which is also enjoying record enrollment. Another example is the Professional Nursing Studies Program, which was established in 2010 with its own facility and simulation hospital, and which this year accepted a record number of 46 upperclassmen into its nursing program. Students must apply to the program during their freshmen and sophomore years, when they are considered pre-nursing.
The Thomas R. McLean Health Sciences Building, home to the DPT program, was opened on April 1 and will be dedicated on Oct. 20 at the celebration of the Campaign for Methodist University – Building Excellence.
The newest School of Health Sciences program is the proposed Occupational Therapy (OT) doctorate, slated to begin in Fall 2018. MU recently hired the program’s inaugural director and chair, Dr. Meredith Gronski, who comes to Methodist from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where she was an assistant professor of occupational therapy and otolaryngology.