I have some good news I'd like to share.
As many of you know, for over 20 years I've been a Trustee of my alma mater, Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, where I earned my B.S. in physics. That work has involved oversight of academic entrepreneurship and innovation as well as other matters. Stevens, always a strong performer, has been on a tear in recent years.
This year is no exception.
I'd like to share with you a recent announcement by President Nariman Farvardin about some exciting new developments. Read it below:
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
There is much to celebrate as Stevens begins the 2017-18 academic year! I am delighted to share some breaking news and some recent accomplishments of the Stevens community:
The U.S. News & World Report "2018 Best Colleges" issue was released yesterday, and Stevens is ranked #69, up from #71 last year and #88 in 2011, making Stevens the second fastest-rising college in the nation among the top 100. This is the highest ranking in Stevens' history, and further proof that Stevens is making measurable progress in its goal, to become a premier, student-centric technological research university. Improvements across nearly all metrics measured by U.S. News & World Report-including enrollment selectivity, student success, financial profile, alumni engagement, and peer assessment-have improved over the last six years.
I am delighted to report on a few of the many, many Stevens accolades and achievements that are the result of the talent, focused dedication, and the collective impact of the entire Stevens community.
- We welcomed approximately 2,000 new undergraduate and graduate students to our campus this fall. The new cohort of 813 undergraduate students represent the most academically talented group in Stevens' history, with significant increases in programs including Computer Science, Mathematics, and Music and Technology, as well as notable growth in Visual Arts and Technology, Biology and Engineering Management.
- The number of new graduate students remained stable with a one percent increase over last year, despite the uncertainty in the U.S. higher education sector for international students that is impacting international enrollments nationwide. Overall, graduate enrollment increased 7.7% since Fall 2016.
- A new venture, StevensOnline, anchored by the award-winning WebCampus distance-learning platform, was launched over the summer. As a part of this initiative, one can earn a complete master's degree entirely online. Currently, 17 online master's programs are available in the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science, the School of Systems and Enterprises, and the School of Business, with additional programs to be developed..
- The work of the faculty continues to bring recognition to Stevens. One noteworthy example is the work of a team of faculty led by Dr. Alex Wellerstein, Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies in the College of Arts and Letters, which received a $500,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to identify new communications strategies regarding nuclear risk. Dr. Wellerstein's expertise on nuclear threats has been in great demand in recent weeks, resulting in media placements in publications such as NPR, Popular Science, and BBC News.
- Another example of the faculty's contributions is described in a recent Forbes article on the Quantitative Finance program in the School of Business. The article details the heavy technical emphasis of the QF program, mentions the growing demand in applications for this major as well as the cybersecurity program, and labels Stevens as, "one of the most desirable STEM colleges in the nation."
- Significant progress toward building a first-class campus infrastructure was apparent this fall, with a number of capital projects underway and recently completed, including the North Building, a three-story, 15,500 SF new building containing classrooms, labs and offices, which serves as a living laboratory for Dr. Elizabeth Fassman-Beck and her students' research on green infrastructure. The building is the site of experimental rain gardens, multiple bioretention planters and multiple green roof setups to improve approaches to managing storm water runoff.
- The recent renovation of the Burchard Auditorium, as well as a number of other classroom renovations, was completed over the summer. In addition, the audio-visual and information technology systems for all campus classrooms were upgraded this summer. By next summer with the renovation of one additional lecture hall, every single learning space on campus will contain the most modern, state-of-the-art teaching technology available. This project underscores the university's commitment to creating the best learning environment possible and is another symbol of the value we place on student-centricity.
- Construction of the Babbio Garage continues, with an estimated completion before the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester. The south half of the project was topped out on Friday, September 8th, and the north half is expected to be completed by the end of September.
- Work on the new academic building is progressing as well, with construction fencing installed and construction starting next week as we begin demolition of the Lieb Building. The project will be completed in July 2019.
- The second phase of the campus security camera project was also recently completed, resulting in an additional 13 wide-angle cameras to the 43 cameras installed throughout campus during Phase I of the project. This addition further improves our campus safety and security preparedness.
- We finished another successful fundraising year, securing $23.4 million, and bringing the capital campaign total to $116.6 million to date.
- The University's financial profile continues to be very strong. While the FY17 year-end audit is still underway, preliminary financial results show a very positive operating revenue to operating expense ratio, a result of increased enrollments and continued prudent spending and expense management. In addition, our endowment experienced healthy growth during FY17, increasing to $184 million as of year-end. All in all, these financial results portray a very healthy outlook for Stevens.
- And, finally, I am immensely humbled to report that I was selected to receive the 2017 Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This honor is a recognition of the tremendous progress that has taken place at Stevens over the last few years. I am honored to be recognized alongside six other distinguished recipients of this award: the presidents of Northeastern, Georgetown, Case Western Reserve, Georgia State University, Harvey Mudd, and Montgomery College. The award comes with a $500,000 prize to be used for high priority academic initiatives. I will be conferring with campus leaders in the coming days and weeks to determine how best to allocate these funds for the greatest benefit to our students.
Stevens is off to an exciting start to the academic year! As we close out summer and usher in fall, I wish you much success and productivity throughout the remainder of 2017.
Per aspera ad astra,