President Kevin Ross delivers 2012 State of the University address
Published Nov. 14, 2012
On Nov. 14, in front of staff, faculty and students President Kevin M. Ross delivered his seventh State of the University address in the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center. Ross reviewed Lynn University’s accomplishments, challenges and ambitious goals.
“As you know, 2012 is a very historic year for Lynn, as it marks our institution’s 50th anniversary, and we could think of no better way to mark the beginning of one historic event than by hosting another,” Ross said.
The effects of that historic event – the third and final presidential debate – are still being felt, but it is clear that the sheer numbers tell the story: from our own university’s involvement that spawned 80 debate-related courses, 208 business partners, 476 volunteers to the 59.2 million people who tuned in, the 3,500 credentialed media who descended upon our campus resulting in more than 30,000 media stories. And there were 153,000 visits on our official debate website, 6.5 million tweets, 2,000 photos posted and 130,000 viewers of the K-12 curriculum on iTunes. And we were able to enhance our technology through our debate investments.
It’s evident that plenty of people have now “heard of us” making the tongue-in-cheek t-shirt, “We’ve never heard of your either,” even more popular.
Download the PDF of Ross' full remarks.
Though mammoth in scope and utilizing major resources, the debate is only one feather in the university’s cap. Ross had some other groundbreaking news – literally – on the construction boom about to take place on campus.
On the weekend of March 21-23, during a special 50th anniversary combined Family and Alumni Weekend, Lynn will be officially breaking ground on its new $12 million International Business Center, Ross announced.
The construction of the center was made possible through a $6 million gift from an anonymous alumni donor. This donor also issued a challenge – if Lynn could raise an additional $3 million, then the donor would also provide the remaining $3 million to construct the $12 million building.
“Today I am happy to announce that we have raised $2 million out of the $3 million of that challenge,” Ross said. “Lynn University is extremely grateful to Marlene Goldstein, the wife of late Lynn professor Arnold Goldstein, and Christine Lynn, who both stepped forward with $1 million gifts each.”
And the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bobby Campbell Stadium, the new home for Lynn’s seven-time national champion soccer program, will take place this February.
The $1.2 million gift from Robert “Bobby” Campbell to construct this stadium will also allow Lynn to introduce another sport to its athletics roster – men’s lacrosse.
“Both the Bobby Campbell Stadium and the International Business Center are game-changing gifts to our university, much like the Wold Performing Arts Center, and you all saw what we recently did with that, “ Ross said alluding to the debate. “Gifts of this magnitude are signs that an institution has reached its stride…”
Lynn will also soon break ground on a new central chilled water plant, the first of its kind in Boca to use reclaimed water.
During his hour-long address, Ross also enumerated Lynn’s new initiatives, accomplishments and successes of 2012.
- Undergraduate student enrollment increased 35 percent from last fall.
- International enrollment increased by 14.8 percent; undergraduate by 28. 9 percent, compared to last fall.
- Retention rates rose from 9 percent, from 60 percent to 69.4 percent for full-time freshmen (national rate for similar institutions is 67 percent). Ross thanked faculty advisors and staff mentors for their important role in this.
- Our new sustainability initiative, a 20-year, $10.7 million contract with Siemens Building Technologies, is expected to save 32 percent in annual utilities, reduce energy consumption by 30 percent, water by 32 percent and natural gas by 20 percent.
- Participation in the Yellow Ribbon program increased by 43 percent.
Accolades and Rankings
- Lynn was ranked 4th in U.S. News and World Report for the nation’s highest percentage of international students.
- Lynn ranked No. 43 in the country in StudentAdvisor’s Top 100 Social Media Colleges; No. 4 in Florida.
- Lynn was named “2012 Great College to Work for” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Office of Admission launched the “All Styles Welcome” campaign and Campus Visit Experience.
- The Center for Learning Abroad was created to expand study abroad options.
- The Remembrance Plaza, in memory of the 4 students and 2 professors we lost in the Haiti earthquake, was dedicated on March 16.
- Lynn now has a new front entrance courtesy of Robert Sheetz and a new perimeter road and relocated preserve through a $1 million gift from Benjamin Olewine.
- Debate investments including $1.8 million in Cisco network equipment, $100,000 in Lenovo computers and more than $125,000 in fiber, storage, cabling and equipment will all enhance the university’s aging technology environment.
- Network updates in the spring will allow implementation of a campus wide mobile platform.
- Honorary degree given to to Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Indimi, a parent who has sent six of his children to Lynn.
- World renowned thought leaders and entertainers came to Lynn, including Jim Lehrer and Billy Joel.
- Lynn went even more global with students representing 87 (up from 80) nations and 45 states.
- The importance of dialogues promoted through the hosting of various events on campus: AARP’s You’ve Earned a Say” conversations, forum on anti-semitism, FSNE panel discussions, PBC School Board meeting, student film competition and a naturalization ceremony. Coming up this year, New York Times best-selling author and education and creativity consultant Sir Ken Robinson will be Lynn’s Dively Lecture Series speaker.
From the launch of the Lynn 2020 strategic plan six years ago to today, the university has raised $47 million in cash and pledges. “Wouldn’t it be something if we were able to hit the $50 million mark on our 50th anniversary? “asked Ross.
In conclusion, Ross said, “As you can see, Lynn University may be a small school, but we are doing big things. And we may be a young institution, but our accomplishments have been remarkable.”