Mazey outlines achievements, goals in University address

By Annie Furia and By Annie Furia

University President Mary Ellen Mazey encouraged staff, faculty and students to work toward change at the University during her State of the University address Friday, Aug. 28.

Megan Newlove, vice chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, welcomed Mazey to the stage of the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center.

“We’re here today because we’re committed to our university’s mission and goals,” Newlove said.

These goals were central to Mazey’s speech as she praised past achievements but looked toward the future, outlining the theme of this year’s address as “let’s lift ourselves to yet higher levels of achievements and recognition.”

Retention of last year’s freshmen class is 77.5 percent, Mazey said. This is 8 percent higher than retention rates for two years ago.

New freshman enrollment is up 12 percent over last year. The goal for this year was to enroll 3200 freshmen, but 3402 freshmen arrived on campus for Opening Weekend.

The average GPA for this year’s freshman class is 3.36.

“We have enrolled the most academically prepared class in the University’s history,” Mazey said.

The University aims to have 25,000 students total with more than 80 percent retention, Mazey said. In spring 2015, the University had 17,558 students enrolled at both the main and Firelands campuses, according to the 15th Day Headcount.

Mazey outlined a number of other goals for the University’s future. These included making the University a “national model” for inclusion and diversity, decreasing the time to get a degree, lowering the cost to attend the University and balancing financial support of academics, athletics and student life programming.

A priority for the University in the past year has been scholarships, Mazey said. More than $7 million in scholarship funding was raised last year, and the goal for this year is to exceed that number.

Mazey put an emphasis on change on campus, both in physical and ideological ways.

“We are all agents of change,” Mazey told the audience. She said the University is “willing to change to meet the future needs and demands placed on higher education.”

She referenced the It’s On Us and Not In Our Town campaigns and the steps taken to make the University’s campus more diverse and inclusive.

For the physical changes on campus, Mazey pointed to the building of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratory and the BG Flight Center, as well at the summer renovations of Olscamp Hall and classrooms in Eppler Center, the Education Building and the Business Administration Building.

In addition, Mazey said the project to renovate the University’s “traditions” buildings, such as South Hall and University Hall, is “on time and on budget.”

“We are transforming this campus on a continuous basis for our academic programs and our current and future students,” she said. “Our campus is changing every day to meet future student needs.”

Mazey took time to address the uncertain future of the University’s public TV station, WBGU.

She said this year “will determine if and how we will participate in an auction designed to increase the spectrum available for wireless devices.”

“We continue to review the options available to our TV station, WGBU-TV, in order to make the best decision possible for both the University and the communities we serve,” she said.

Mazey also introduced and read the new University Creed, created by members of Undergraduate Student Government. The creed “captures the spirit of Bowling Green State University and why we all believe in our great university,” she said.

“We were so excited and grateful for her to make the announcement,” Danielle Parker, vice president of USG, said. “It’s really rewarding to see the University embrace it.”

Parker said the creed was introduced at Resident Advisor training and has become a part of USG meetings, but this was the first major event at which the creed had been said.

“We’re so fortunate for (Mazey’s) support,” she said.

Newlove returned to the stage to close out the speech, telling the audience, “This university is a special place because of your dedication.”