20 Strides Made by SUU in the 2015-16 School Year

Published: September 29, 2016 | Author: President Scott L Wyatt | Read Time: 4 minutes

SUU CampusSUU has done a lot in the last 12 months. From national recognitions to new institutional programs and athletic achievements, the Thunderbirds are staying busy and making their name known. 

Here are 20 highlights from the 2015 – 2016 academic year:

1. SUU climbed the US West & World Report rankings and is 1st in Utah, among public, regional universities, and 3rd in the eight Intermountain West states.

2. LendEDU ranked Southern Utah University in the top 5% of all public and private colleges and universities in the country, in their 2016 College Risk-Reward Indicator score (student loan debt to early career salary, SUU is ranked at #45).

3. We successfully completed the first “Jumpstart” cohort—all general education courses taught together in a completely integrated format in one year—of this Inside Higher Ed reported: “The institution—top to bottom—should be commended for taking educational risks,” said Karen Gross, former president of Southern Vermont College and former senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. She called the experiment bold and thoughtful. “Change doesn’t often in higher education,” said Gross, “And when it does, it’s usually tinkering at the edges. This isn't that.”

4. We had the best graduation rate last year, of all public, regional universities in the eight Intermountain West states, and a record number of graduates last spring totaling 1712.

5. During the first week of school SUU (branded University of the Parks) pulled off the largest field trip in the world, on the 100th Anniversary of the National Parks Service (SUU Day in the Parks). We had more than 100 different field trips with over 4,500 students participating.

6. This is SUU’s 5th year on the United State's President’s Honor Roll and the second year in a row with distinction. SUU documented 215,405 hours of community service in the most recent reporting year.

7. Southern Utah University was named Utah’s first Purple Heart Campus.

8. MSN ranked Southern Utah University 3rd in the country for the largest increase in applications over the past 10 years. Applications are up 509% from ten years ago.

9. We have broken through the 50/500 international student ceiling for the first time in our history, we have 520 international students from 50 different countries this semester.

10. We opened the new Kenneth L Cannon Equestrian Center and now have a beautiful indoor arena for our equestrian program.

11. We opened the $39 million Beverley Center for the Arts, including the new home for the Utah Shakespeare Theatre and Southern Utah Museum of Art, of this the Los Angeles Times said, “The most noteworthy summer theater complex in North America is the Utah Shakespeare Festival.”

12. Students entered Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge and Southern Utah University won the title of National Outdoor Champions.

13. The Arbor Day Foundation awarded Southern Utah University the Tree Campus USA designation.

14. We led the state in enrollment growth last year—looking at the total year—fall 2015, spring 2016 and summer 2016 combined our FTE Annualized growth was 10.6%. The next closest was UVU at 6.3%, Snow 5.6%, USU 4.6%. Everyone else was either flat or down.

15. Cedar City was just ranked the 20th best college town in the America. The only other two college towns that were ranked in Utah were Logan at 35 and Provo at 28.

16. Back Up The Mountain, the docudrama on Southern Utah University’s founding, won several film awards including one at a New York City film festival.

17. Our T-Bird Football and Men’s Cross Country teams won their conference titles in the Big Sky Conference. (This was Football’s first D-1 Title; Men’s Cross Country’s 13th D-1 Title since 1992 when we became a D-1 school.) Speaking of football—several of last years championship football team members were getting serious looks from NFL teams, two of them, Miles Killebrew (Detroit Lions) and LeShaun Sims (Tennessee Titans), played against each other last week.

18. The Larry H. Miller Group joined in with our Utah Summer Games as the title sponsor this summer and for the coming years.

19. We secured approval and funding for a new business building and our architectural team is working on program and design in anticipation that construction will start next year.

20. What about the future? We just completed a new strategic plan after 18 months work. It is a very ambitious plan with a new mission statement, vision statement, and core themes. The vision statement is: “Southern Utah University will receive national recognition for its innovations in learning, student success, and providing the best educational experience in the Intermountain West.” This is already happening but there is much more to come!

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