President Ross delivers sixth State of the University

$5 million in new gifts for scholarship and capital improvements highlighted in his speech
President Ross delivers sixth State of the University

Published Oct. 13, 2011

On Oct.12, in front of staff, faculty and students, President Kevin M. Ross delivered his sixth 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.

$5 million in new gifts

Highlighting this year’s speech, Ross announced that the school has received three gifts totaling $5 million to establish an endowed scholarship and to fund two significant components of the university’s Lynn 2020 strategic plan.

“To date, with these gifts, we have raised over $30 million in cash and pledges for the projects outlined as priorities in Lynn 2020,” Ross said during his speech. “We are grateful for these wonderful friends whose generosity affirms their commitment to the mission and vision of Lynn University.”

Lynn receives three million endowed scholarship

Holli Rockwell of Boca Raton, Fla., has established a planned gift of $3 million to establish The Herbert and Holli Rockwell Endowed Scholarship Fund. She will fund the scholarship during her lifetime and through her estate—allowing her to enjoy seeing students receive the scholarship which bears her and her late husband’s name. She is a long-standing supporter of Lynn University, and she has also named the Herbert and Holli Rockwell Terrace Garden at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center. Establishing more endowed scholarships is a major goal of the 5-year-old Lynn 2020 strategic plan.

“With this continued growth of endowments for student scholarships, we will be able to welcome even more deserving students to our campus who otherwise might not have been able to attend Lynn,” Ross said during his speech.

One million given to enhance the Military Trail entrance

A pledge of $1 million from Robert Sheetz, also from Boca Raton, Fla., will fund the renovation and upgrade of the university’s main entrance on Military Trail. The new entrance will include a traffic light and five lanes for better traffic flow. This is a major component of Lynn’s approved master plan.

“This will be the first impression that potential students and their families have of our campus,” Ross said in his address. “Herb Newman, the architect who designed our library and performing arts center, once said, ‘Lynn’s very pretty, but there are some teeth missing in the smile.’ Well, we are filling in those gaps, and today we are smiling brighter than ever.”

New Potomac Road entrance and relocation of the Benjamin Olewine III preserve

Benjamin Olewine III, a longtime benefactor to Lynn University from Harrisburg, Pa. and Boca Raton, Fla., has pledged $1 million to create a new Potomac Road entrance and a back perimeter road which includes the relocation of the existing Benjamin Olewine III Preserve. The preserve, home to Florida scrub, will provide a living laboratory for the study of this imperiled ecosystem, including seven animals and 40 plants listed as rare, threatened or endangered. He has also funded the Olewine Culinary Laboratory as well as the Olewine Entrance Garden at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center.

These successes occur as Lynn’s endowment continues to grow despite the difficult economic times. From 2000 to June of 2011, Lynn University’s endowment has grown from $4,180,000 to $21,131,000.

Ross also touched on other fundraising successes of Lynn’s Office of Development. The department’s staff brought in $3.99 million in cash and an additional $638,000 in pledges to end the 2010-2011 fiscal year with more than $4.6 million raised in total.

“Each of these gifts moves us closer to fulfilling our vision to be recognized as one of the most innovative, international and individualized small universities in America,” Ross said.

Recent accomplishments

Among the many successes announced, Ross highlighted Lynn’s increased enrollment and welcomed the university’s largest class in four years. He proudly emphasized that this goal was accomplished with the help of the entire Lynn community.

Kevin_Ross“The 538 new day undergraduate students this fall semester come from 36 countries, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and 36 states… This enrollment number is 18 percent higher than last year,” said Ross. “Last year, Admission set a goal for new student enrollment of 525, which they not only met but exceeded.”

Ross focused on Lynn’s devotion to maintaining affordable education when he said, “we are proud to be keeping our tuition rate increase well below the national average for the fifth consecutive year.”

Despite the difficult economic climate, Lynn’s endowment which funds, “student scholarships, the buildings on our campus, the campus positions and chairs, and travel expenditures and it supports the overall mission of our university," has increased remarkably.

Lynn 2020 progress

In merely five years, Lynn has completed one-third of its goals outlined in Lynn 2020 including: eight new endowed scholarships, the complete restructuring of its core curriculum and the subsequent launch of the Dialogues of Learning, which includes the January term, and the completion of the Perper Plaza, the Perper Tennis Complex and the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center, among others.

This past summer, the construction began on the Remembrance Plaza which will honor the lost but never forgotten members of Lynn’s community – professors Patrick Hartwick and Richard Bruno and students, Stephanie Crispinelli, Britney Gengel, Christine Gianacaci and Courtney Hayes.

“This plaza will be a place for reflection, remembrance and inspiration, and we are planning to hold a dedication during this spring semester.”

As he began to close his speech, Ross said, “Lynn University has earned its place in history – and Lynn is here to stay… we are making our mark not just in the realm of higher education, but in the world.”