The campus came alive in late August as a near-record class of freshmen arrived on the Hilltop. These 1,108 freshmen and 305 transfer students — 40 more than our target — are immersing themselves in the Bradley Experience. From day to day, hour to hour sometimes, you can see them change from uncertain neophytes on campus to more confident veterans as they become familiar with the Michel Student Center, Main Street and gondolas.
It is a credit to our University and our faculty and staff that Bradley was able to attract such a large and accomplished class in these difficult economic times. With so many students attending community colleges and public institutions, we were able to bring more students to Bradley because of the quality educational programs we offer, our exceptional faculty and our ever-improving facilities. The Markin Family Student Recreation Center certainly has made a difference, as those who have been on campus know. I’m confident our other new facilities — the arena, the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center and a renovated and expanded Westlake Hall — will have a significant impact as well.
Let me tell you a little about our new freshmen. They come from nearly 30 states and several foreign countries. We are attracting more from the East and West Coasts, and will continue to broaden our geographic diversity. More than 22 percent of our freshmen are students of color — about half of that number are African-Americans.
I am confident that this class holds future leaders who will contribute to our University in ways large and small. We have grown this class while maintaining its quality; the average college test scores for these students are on par with the last couple of years. The students are exceptional. For example, one of them is a national high school forensics champion. A pair of friends has their own successful business marketing and selling bean bags. A third is the reigning high school baseball pitcher of the year in metro Miami. This is an impressive group that will make us proud. I can’t wait to meet them all and welcome them to Bradley University.
By the same token, I was so pleased to meet so many distinguished alumni at our regional galas to introduce them to the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance. Over the summer in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles, we hosted nearly 700 alumni and friends at our four special events. It was wonderful to greet old friends and meet so many new ones. I love hearing captivating stories about memorable days on the Hilltop.
LARRY BELCASTER ’67 MSCE ’68 visits with President Joanne Glasser at the Chicago gala at Medinah Country Club on July 23.
The galas are a great way for alumni to stay connected with Bradley. We will continue traveling from one coast to another, spreading the word about our University and providing updates on all the exciting developments — inside and outside the classroom — here at Bradley.
I invite you to take a moment to view the slideshow of the galas at bradley.edu/hilltopics/go/galas.
These are exhilarating times at Bradley; many extraordinary things are happening. The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance is making progress, though there is more to do. I know that together we are well on our way toward making Bradley a university of national distinction.
Thank you for all you do for your alma mater. And thank you for giving me the privilege to serve our wonderful University. Go Braves.