Welcome to the fall semester. As I walked around our campuses this week, I was pleased to see new and familiar faces – in classrooms, connecting with friends, practicing on the athletic fields and studying between classes.
We have a remarkable student body and devoted faculty who are committed to providing a high quality education to our students. Freshmen applications reached a record high this fall, as more students made LIU their first choice. New enrollment rose 5.41%, with SAT/ACTs averages increasing nearly 20 points. In its second year, the College of Veterinary Medicine saw more and more applications and once again had a competitive waiting list, and in its inaugural year Roc Nation School of Music, Sports and Entertainment attracted exceptional students from across the globe.
This summer, LIU added additional amenities for students – such as WiFi access to all University housing – upgraded classrooms, new labs for medicinal chemistry, music technology and production, and 3D simulation. LIU Brooklyn opened a state of the art playing field for Division 1 athletes and the library now houses a central tutoring center for student convenience. For gaming enthusiasts, a new e-sports stadium will debut in a couple of weeks in Conolly Hall. At LIU Post, The Tilles Center for the Performing Arts was renovated through generous donor support. Shark Bite opened in Winnick Dining Hall, complete with an outdoor patio and big screen monitors, and we began construction on the College of Veterinary Medicine. The University has experienced an unprecedented acceleration of projects, and we will continue to make investments that strengthen our academic and student experiences.
Our newly announced Vice President for Student Affairs, Michael Berthel and his team have prioritized improving the overall quality of student services on our campuses. This fall, VP Berthel will form a working group to address all areas that affect our students. He will ask for student input throughout the year, and implement measures based on that feedback to ensure student success.
The University’s unwavering commitment to college affordability has resulted in tuition rate adjustments of less than half the regional and national averages, making the demand for a LIU education stronger. This summer we distributed more than $8 million in emergency awards to LIU students through the U.S. Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, and an additional $10 million of this aid will be distributed to our students this academic year.
Vaccinations are helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus, and we are vigilant about keeping our community safe. I urge everyone to get vaccinated and wear masks inside buildings for the protection of you and others.
I remain honored to lead such a dynamic and talented community and look forward to seeing you all on campus.