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Herbst gives ‘State of the University’ address

President outlines goals for future of UConn

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08



President Susan Herbst delivers her ‘State of the University’ inaugural speech at the Student Union Theatre on Thursday afternoon. Herbst discussed her four main goals for the future of UConn: student success, research, economic development and philanthropy.

UConn President Susan Herbst delivered her inaugural “State of the University” address in the Student Union Theatre yesterday. The address was streamed live to all of the regional campuses, including the School of Law and UConn Health Center and entailed her vision for the future of the university.

Herbst, who took the job of president less than one year ago, welcomed students and faculty with positive words, remarking upon her position as the first woman president of the university. “Over the past year, I have had the honor of being the first woman president of UConn,” Herbst said. “My first year here has exceeded all of my expectations. I am immensely proud to call UConn home … every member of our community is responsible for our growth and we are very fortunate for our many alumni,” Herbst said.

Herbst outlined the goals and strengths of the university along with future efforts and collaborations to bolster UConn’s standing and success. She drew upon four areas of continued efforts vital to the future of the university; student success, research, economic development and philanthropy.

In addressing student success, she pointed to the academic achievements for the incoming class of 2012, remarking that 85 percent of students are ranked in the top half of their graduating class and the majority of students have scores of 1200 or higher on the SATs. Herbst also addressed the boom in applicants and the need for more faculty members. She revealed the efforts of employing three-hundred new faculty employees by 2016.

“The volume of applications has jumped 32 percent over the past two years, there is no doubt we are becoming a school of choice for high achieving students. However, the extraordinary growth of student enrollment is outnumbering the rate of faculty.”

Herbst would then address ongoing research efforts and the need for continued funding. Highlighting the many research projects already ongoing, Herbst discussed the need for more research collaborations and continued success, while praising the efforts of the state for its Bioscience CT initiative.

“We need to build upon research; today, research funding exceeds $200 million at the university. Fortunately, in the state we have leaders and legislators who recognize the benefits of research leading to economic growth and productivity … The major investment of Bioscience Connecticut is poised to jumpstart Connecticut’s economy and will shape the state into being more productive with the hope to generate jobs and sustain economic development.”

Herbst stressed the need for continued philanthropy and economic growth, with the ultimate goal of reaching a university endowment of $1 billion. The current endowment, which stands at around $329 million Herbst’s believes it is insufficient for UConn to compete and be a top research university.

“State support has dropped and stands just 28% of the total budget, philanthropy remains absolutely essential to UConn’s future. Reaching the $1 billion dollar mark, where we should be, is not in the realm of the impossible. Having a growing endowment guarantees our success … It is not a time for complacency or modesty.”

Herbst would conclude by summarizing UConn’s many strengths and outlining certain goals, stressing the need for civility and diversity.

“We are a large, thriving, world class university. We want to be able to capture the attention of superb students and make UConn known to the nation … we must be led by our values and be remembered as a time for civility and diversity … over the coming months I look forward to working with many of you and many thanks for a great and inspiring year.” 

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