With a new calendar year upon us, our focus at Monmouth has turned to the second half of the academic year. But I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to reflect on some of the University’s recent successes and accomplishments.
We began the current academic year by enrolling one of Monmouth’s finest first-year classes ever. The Class of 2026 had the highest average GPA (3.61) of any incoming class in University history. It was also the most geographically diverse class ever enrolled at the University, with more than 30% hailing from outside New Jersey. This class was also one of Monmouth’s most racially and ethnically diverse, with 27% of incoming domestic students identifying as racial or ethnic minorities. What’s more, 30% of the first-year class was eligible for federal Pell Grants, financial aid to students and families with demonstrated financial need. This benchmark, coupled with the University’s highest-ever ranking in U.S. News & World Report, is strong evidence that Monmouth continues to make great progress toward its goal of becoming a national leader in the successful integration of excellence and access.
Last fall marked the University’s inaugural season of competition in the Colonial Athletic Association, and I am proud to report that the women’s soccer and field hockey teams both captured regular season championships and numerous student-athletes earned individual conference honors for both their athletic and academic performances. The fall also marked the debut of women’s rowing at Monmouth, the University’s 24th Division I sport. True to form, the Hawks not only hit the water rowing this fall, but they did so in historic fashion, winning the program’s first medals in the team’s second competition at the prestigious Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Philadelphia.
Monmouth continued its commitment to being a valuable partner to the external community, efforts that are exemplified by the extraordinary work being done through the Paradoxical Paradise project. Led by Associate Professor Hettie Williams, a multidisciplinary team of faculty members and students is bring- ing to light the untold history of the African American experience in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Elsewhere on campus, we are actively reinventing the Center for Entrepreneurship at Monmouth University so that it better serves all members of the campus community and becomes the go-to service provider for emerging entrepreneurs and budding businesses throughout our region, resulting in a positive impact on our local and regional economy.
And as the semester drew to a close, it was my pleasure to welcome many of you back to campus for the Gala at the Great Hall. This new tradition is one of our marquee fundraising events, the proceeds from which support our Access Fund. This important fund provides scholarships to students with unmet financial need, enabling us to make the first-class, private education that Monmouth University offers as accessible as possible.
As we look ahead to 2023—the 90th year in our University’s impressive history—I am grateful for the many individuals and experiences that have helped shape Monmouth into what it is today. My sincere thanks to our entire community—faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and of course, students—who continue to support and advance our mission as we approach bona fide national university status. Thank you for your commitment to Monmouth and the exceptional students we serve.