President's 2004 Report to the University
University is Doing Very Well, DeRosa Says
February 20, 2004
"I'm here to give you a report on my health and the health of the University," President Donald DeRosa told faculty, staff and students last Thursday. "Both are doing well."
After going on a reduced schedule to recuperate from illness last semester, the president said that he's back to work full time and has resumed his exercise regime, walking four miles five times a week in under 55 minutes.
Dr. DeRosa displayed charts showing that over the last five years applications for admission have increased substantially, freshmen SAT scores have jumped 66 points, enrollment has grown nearly 9 percent and the endowment has almost doubled. The capital campaign has raised more than $120 million, and the endowment's nominal rate of return is third best in the nation over the last three years.
"Pacific is doing very well, but this doesn't mean we're where we want to be," the president said, noting that enrollment has grown more in some programs than in others. "We need to spread that demand around."
Enrollment growth in the sciences, particularly in biology, means the University needs to build additional teaching and research space. Campus leaders want to create a new natural sciences complex on the south end of the Stockton Campus. "The first phase is an $18 million building for biology," said the president. "It's desperately needed."
Other top fundraising priorities include a University Center, a technology center and a multipurpose athletic facility.
Another challenge, the president said, is Governor Schwarzenegger's recent proposal to slash funding for the state's popular Cal Grant program, which provides some $10.4 million in aid to Pacific students this year.
One in four freshmen received a Cal Grant last fall, creating access to higher education for many who are among the first in their families to attend college. "The students who come to Pacific have less family income, on average, than the students who go to the UC campuses," DeRosa said. "We are serving a broader range of students than UC."
DeRosa went on to outline eight top priorities for the next three to five years. These include nurturing academic excellence, increasing diversity, raising institutional visibility, integrating computer technology into the curriculum and operations, raising funds for endowments and facilities, implementing enrollment and facilities plans, and improving alumni giving and annual support.
"We are a great university," the president said. "But I am convinced that we can do even better. . . The way Pacific will make its mark is to stay true to its core values, to that quality and that highly personalized education."
The noontime event in the Long Theatre drew nearly 200, including emeritus professor and former dean Dr. Roy Whiteker. "I liked what the president had to say, and I am pleased with the direction the University is going."
Suzie Mangum, a junior majoring in education who serves as ASUOP's attorney general, said she was pleased to hear that the president's priorities were focused on improving student life. "I thought the eight priorities were great. It's a shame more students didn't attend."