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Washington State University

Office of the PResident

Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 9/15/09

A Growing, Diverse University

In 2005 and 2006, the Washington Legislature authorized first WSU Vancouver and then WSU Tri-Cities to offer admission to first-term freshmen and start down the path of becoming four-year universities.

Our university's 10th day enrollment report, released last week, provides the latest evidence of the wisdom of those legislative actions. At a time when we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our urban campuses, those campuses play an increasing role in the growth, the academic and ethnic diversity and the excellence of Washington State University.

WSU's overall enrollment stands at 25,965, up 3.3 percent from last year's record levels. Our fastest-growing campus is WSU Tri-Cities, up 9.7 percent. WSU Vancouver grew 5.6 percent from last year. The Pullman and Spokane campuses showed an overall increase of 2.6 percent.

Our campuses are not just serving more students; they are serving a broader range of students. The growth in the diversity of our incoming freshmen class is remarkable. The Pullman class of new freshmen is 18.2 percent minority students; minority students make up 21.1 percent of the incoming Vancouver class and 33.9 percent of new freshmen in the Tri-Cities.

Minority enrollment percentages are rising at WSU Spokane as well. However, that campus has its own mission, as a hub of health sciences research and medical education for our region. You can expect to hear more developments on that front in the months ahead.

A one-size-fits-all institution won't thrive in today's environment. Clearly, each WSU campus is meeting the needs of its community. Each campus is carving out a unique identity. And the success of each campus is integral to the success of WSU as a statewide institution.

The Tri-Cities and Vancouver campuses have become outstanding alternatives for students in those regions who, for academic, economic or family reasons, want to take advantage of a four-year university experience close to home. The minority enrollment numbers on all of our campuses indicate that our outreach efforts are reaching more students in traditionally underserved communities and convincing them that a university degree is a very real possibility. That's good news for those students, for our state and for our university.

I would be remiss in citing these enrollment advances without also citing all the hard work that went into bringing these students to campus and into serving their educational needs once they arrived. In this difficult budget environment, our university has kept its commitment to providing higher education to a broad spectrum of students. We are only able to accomplish this because of the dedication of the faculty and staff who work here, and I thank you all for your efforts.