Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 1:06 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
First, a sincere word of thanks to everyone who participated in VCSU's Homecoming activities last week. The Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet, Alumni Honors Breakfast, Homecoming Parade, athletic events, and alumni socials were all well-attended and a great way to connect with VCSU alumni and friends as well as recognize various achievements. It is enjoyable visiting with so many friends and honoring alumni for their service, accomplishments, and contributions made during college and professional careers. Our current students also kept busy with a full schedule of entertaining activities – the campus was abuzz with energy all week!

In reflecting a bit more about Homecoming, it is an appropriate time to review VCSU's future alumni by considering this year's student enrollment. Valley City State University recently announced its Fall 2011 total student enrollment has now reached an all-time record enrollment. Simply put, VCSU is educating more students this fall than at any time in the 120+ year history of the institution. Overall headcount this fall is 1,384 students, an increase of nearly 8% over last fall's 1,285 enrolled students.

To further highlight the growth, consider that there are 402 more students taking VCSU classes this year compared to the Fall 2007 headcount of 982. This represents an overall growth in students of 41% during just the past four years. This is the greatest increase in overall students among any of the 11 campuses of the North Dakota University System during this timeframe. An exciting factor to note within this growth is that it is campus-wide; the growth is spread across a multitude of departments and divisions, demonstrating the effort and dedication of VCSU's faculty and staff throughout campus.

The total student headcount includes both undergraduate and graduate students at VCSU. I am pleased to note that our graduate student numbers set a record enrollment for the seventh straight year. There are now 157 Master's students enrolled at VCSU (representing 11% of our overall student population).
Another important measurement is the number of students living in VCSU's residence halls. This fall there are 347 students living on-campus in the residence halls, which is a 6.4% increase over Fall 2010 and the most residential students at VCSU since 1999.

For the second straight year, VCSU also welcomed an incoming freshmen class of new students in excess of 200 students. This is the first time in nearly twenty years that the campus has welcomed back-to-back freshmen classes of over 200 students. As you know, freshmen are the students who ultimately become sophomores, juniors, and seniors; in addition to pursuing their educational goals, they live on-campus, use the dining services and other student facilities, add to student life, enhance the community, support our local businesses, fulfill part-time employment opportunities in the community, etc. Therefore, it is imperative, both as a University and as a City, that we continue focusing on this important segment. VCSU has implemented a number of initiatives to attract new freshmen to campus and they are succeeding. New academic programs, new marketing and recruiting initiatives, new intercollegiate athletic programs, and other activities have all been implemented to grow our freshmen student enrollment during the past several years, and it is so heartening to see these strategic initiatives resulting in success.