SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Fall 2002)
The past year has been, in a word, remarkable. We have and continue to face some formidable challenges. And, we've fulfilled some significant accomplishments.
H. Kaiser said, "Problems are only opportunities in work clothes." Indeed, we've had to roll up our sleeves to tackle the trials and challenges that confront us daily, but we've also received many rewards and victories. It is facts of life such as this that make me both joyful and grateful to be at the helm of an Institution as wonderful as Southern Utah University, with a supportive crew of talented, wise staff alongside me, all with the same desire to advance SUU every day.
NEW STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT
Students, though-now they are a group that does not cease to amaze me everyday as to what they can do and who they can inspire. I'm especially looking forward to starting the new year with a fleet of new Student Association officers. The captain of that crew is Matt Glazier, a pre-med major from West Jordan, UT. Injured earlier in his life, Matt is seen cruising the campus in his wheelchair. The epitome of the phrase, "a mover and a shaker," he stands tall in leadership, enthusiasm and a genuine desire to make this a great year for our students.
SUU is not exempt from the hardships that higher education throughout the nation has had to endure, as one of the victims of the economic recession. Here's what the current picture looks like...
Since June of 2001, SUU has been involved in a series of budget reductions. By the time the Utah Legislature concluded its budget deliberations in early March of this year, there was a 5.2 percent reduction in state tax dollars mandated to SUU's and other institutions' budgets. Then, in the middle of May, we learned about the state's second major revenue shortfall, adding $173 million, or a total shortage of $429 million.
Governor Michael Leavitt ('78 Business Technology) strongly held to the position that Utah needed to protect both public and higher education from further cuts. The good news? The final second round cut was only .57 percent, amounting to a reduction of $148,600 to the operating budget of the Institution. We are grateful that both the governor and legislators recognized the importance of preserving these badly needed educational opportunities in Utah.
However, the actual amount we will need to reallocate will be considerably larger, for three main reasons: 1) The fiscal year is already underway and time for implementing the cuts will take anywhere from one to three months; 2) SUU's administrative data processing systems are 15 to 20 years old, maybe older. The Utah System of Higher Education is seizing an opportunity to acquire some badly-needed new systems at large discounts; and 3) The economic future always requires some careful contingency planning.
Faculty, staff and students have been engaged in doing their part in tightening their belts for the coming year. One illustration is the 9 percent tuition hike discussed with and approved by the students and Regents last semester. The additional tuition will cover about one third of the total budget cuts.
Still financially speaking, we have fulfilled about three-fourths of our $42 million goal in our Capital Campaign, largely due to alumni donors. Thank you! Scholarships remain the key to the Campaign's success. However small or large, we welcome your support of this pivotal need.
WINNING THE RACE
"Perseverance is not a long race. It is the many short races one after another." (W. Elliot) As I suggested earlier, despite the economic hurdles we face, we continue to run the race, always finishing, and sometimes even breaking some records, but always, conditioning and improving. Some examples of such good runs on our campus, include the following:
Soccer - We enter our second season this fall of our newest intercollegiate athletic program-women's soccer. Good luck Lady T-Birds!
New School - We now have a sixth school on campus-the School of Applied Science and Technology, with Dr. Cynthia Wright as the founding dean.
ROTC On Top - The Golden Bear now resides at SUU. Our ROTC Ranger Challenge team, along with 22 other University teams from across the West, including powerhouse teams such as UCLA, USC, BYU, ASU and Stanford, competed in the Golden Bear Brigade Ranger Challenge competition at Ft. Hunter Leggett, Calif. And. . .SUU's Team walked away with the First Place Overall trophy, a big sculpture of a powerful bear. The SUU ROTC program was the first of its kind in the nation, and it has proven popular and successful. Five other states have now adopted the style. SUU's is the second largest ROTC program in the state, and enrolls nearly 50 students who hope to one day become U.S. Army officers.
Integrated Engineering - In June, the Utah State Board of Regents voted to allocate funding from the Governor's initiative on engineering and technology. SUU, with a new bachelor of science program in Integrated Engineering, received funding of $125,000 to support this on-the-cutting-edge new program; $50,000 one time, and $75,000 ongoing. The new IE program is designed to prepare "generalist engineers" to perform many of the engineering functions for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies.
SUU's IE program will produce graduates who are well prepared to meet these specific needs of companies in southern Utah and throughout the state. This program will provide a major contribution to economic development in our region and beyond. See the full feature on the IE program in the Spring 2002 issue of SUU In View at www.suu.edu/alumni/magazine/spring02/measureup.html
Fifty students are enrolled in the IE program for this fall-that's an increase of 32 from the roster from the program's debut one year ago. Future students interested in pursuing opportunities in engineering are encouraged to contact the Physical Science and Engineering Department at (435) 586-7900
A runner myself, I must acknowledge the whole squad. Without the many players on the SUU team, these leaps and bounds in providing superior education would not propel. The invaluable talent and too-numerous-to-mention-here accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students, and alumni, are the energy and sustenance of SUU!