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  • State of the University 2016

    Read the 2015 State of the University

    The momentum at Monmouth across every area of our University during the past year has been incredible. From the around-the-clock television and national media coverage generated by our Polling Institute, to the victories of men’s basketball over traditional powerhouse teams UCLA, Notre Dame, USC, and Georgetown; our profile is unmistakably on the rise.

    State of the U 2016 - Pozycki 
    The opening of Pozycki Hall and the ongoing renovations at the School of Science are transforming our campus to enhance learning opportunities for our students. Key strategic initiatives are underway, and we are reviewing our core academic programming and launching new measures that will strengthen the University for years to come.

    Many of these accomplishments are already making a significant impact on our students, while others are setting benchmarks for greater heights of excellence that we will continue to build upon in 2016, and beyond.

    The support of the entire Monmouth University community has been essential for accomplishing the milestones of the past year, and will continue to be crucial as we make progress toward important goals still ahead.

    Academic Programs & Initiatives

    Over the last two years we have added more than 50 new tenure-track and full-time positions, supported by the leadership of two new deans, John Henning in the School of Education and Kenneth Womack in the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, who joined us this year.

    In September I traveled to China with Interim Vice Provost Michael Palladino and Professor Jay Wang to solidify existing academic partnerships and explore new international opportunities for our students and faculty. After several years of hosting visiting professors from our partners in China, one of the highlights of our trip was visiting with Monmouth University’s first outbound scholar, Dr. Fred McKitrick, who was in residence this fall at the Changshu Institute of Technology.

    State of the U 2016 - China

    Our School of Social Work capped off its 40th anniversary celebrations in September with a gala celebration drawing alumni across many fields and many decades. Our Music & Theatre Arts Department forged a new alliance with the Music Business Association’s Academic Partnership Program. Building on our wider affiliation with the GRAMMY Museum, the agreement will provide more support for our students who are embracing the seismic changes in the music industry spanning business models, technology, and entertainment law.

    The Urban Coast Institute (UCI), a hallmark Center of Distinction at the University, continued its tradition of bringing thought-leaders to campus for the 11th Ocean Future Symposium, which also marked the third anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. National Champion of the Ocean Honorees were Dr. Sylvia Earle, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Terry Garcia, the National Geographic Society’s chief science and exploration officer.

    State of the U 2016 - Academic Initiatives 
    We also welcomed the Honorable Deborah Poritz HN ’00, who served as New Jersey’s first female chief justice and also as New Jersey’s first female attorney general as our distinguished Public Servant in Residence for the 2015-16 academic year through the efforts of the Department of Political Science and Sociology.

    After only three years with a moot court program, Monmouth University advanced a team in to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Championship Tournament.  Senior Political Science majors Nicholas Whittaker and Joseph Talafous will represent Monmouth at the national tournament this month, hosted by California State University at Long Beach.

    Our students also benefited from close interaction with acclaimed filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller who accepted the first Monmouth Award for Communication Excellence (MACE) Award since 2010. The writing and directing team behind blockbuster movies including “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “21 Jump Street,” “22 Jump Street,” and “The Lego Movie,” graciously spent quality time with our students in the Department of Communication before the formal award presentation. 

    State of the U 2016 - MACE

    John Dean, former White House Counsel for President Richard Nixon, was the keynote speaker in December for the H.R. Young and Stephen B. Siegel Endowed Lecture series, and the intimate setting of Pollak Auditorium brought history to life for a generation of students unfamiliar with the Watergate scandal that shook our nation more than 40 years ago.

    Advancing Strategic Initiatives

    Just as we are committed to providing our students with direct learning experiences with world-class thinkers and leaders who will engage on a personal level, we are focused on professional development and growth for students within the growing health-related fields.

    The Leon Hess Business School, recognized as one of the “Best 295 Business Schools” by the Princeton Review in 2015, has expanded its MBA program in an off-campus partnership with leading regional healthcare provider Meridian Health. The first students in the program, some of whom are practicing physicians, are expanding their knowledge of business so that Meridian Health can compete successfully in the ever-evolving health care industry.

    The first cohort of students in our Physician Assistant program participated in the program’s inaugural “White Coat” ceremony, marking their responsibilities as emerging healthcare professionals. Last year our BSN students held a similar ceremony, and growth in both areas sets a solid foundation for a broad strategic initiative with an emphasis on health and wellness.

    State of the U 2016 - White Coat

    Dr. Michael Palladino, interim vice provost for graduate studies and former dean of the School of Science, is taking the lead on this initiative which will leverage existing and emerging healthcare programs, our central geographic location, and strong relationships with healthcare providers and community partners, to position Monmouth as a leader in health sciences education.

    Another initiative generated from our strategic plan is our first student Scholarship Week, which will take place from April 18 -24. While individual academic departments have always celebrated the accomplishments of their graduating students, Scholarship Week will integrate many of the established conferences and events into a holistic showcase for students from all areas of campus to participate in new and collaborative ways.

    It will be the first time we bring these areas together for a weeklong conference that showcases our students’ academic and scholarly accomplishments across all facets of the institution, including student research, writing, musical and theater productions, art exhibits, and other areas.

    Athletic Programs & Facilities

    Our student-athletes have continued to excel both on and off the field, earning athletic victories and incredible media attention, especially for the men’s basketball team which has claimed early season wins against nationally ranked teams while capturing the hearts of fans across the country with what ESPN calls, “The Best Bench in College Basketball.”

  • Monmouth Bench on CBS Sports

  • In a season filled with superlatives and firsts, the men’s basketball program claimed its first win over a nationally ranked team against #17 Notre Dame in November, and its first victories over Big East opponent, Georgetown, and Big Ten rival, Rutgers, in December. 

    As the “front porch” for colleges and universities, sports are often the first introduction for casual observers, and when fans and visitors engage passionately with our athletic programs, increased awareness of our comprehensive academic opportunities follows.

    Expanded coverage for our Division I programs across ESPN platforms has accelerated, and our student athletes claimed the MAAC Overall Commissioner’s Cup for the 2014-15 academic year during halftime at our homecoming football game.

    We are also making a strong run for the cup this year with three teams earning regular season MAAC titles, including the men’s and women’s soccer teams, and our women’s field hockey team.

    The men’s soccer team returned to national rankings during the season notching the 22 position in both the NSCAA NCAA Division I Men’s National Rankings and the College Soccer News Top 30 National Poll, with Head Coach Robert McCourt selected as the Lids MAAC Sports Coach of the Year.

    State of the U 2016 - Field Hockey

    The women’s soccer team won its third straight MAAC Regular Season Championship, and for the fifth time in program history, had five players named first team all-conference and nine players on All-MAAC team. After claiming the MAAC Regular Season title, the women’s field hockey team honored Ann Burgoyne as MAAC Player of the Year and Casey Hanna as MAAC Defensive Player of the Year.

    Men’s and women’s swimming returned to Monmouth with a Division I debut this year, and our cross country teams posted their best-ever finishes at the MAAC Championships, and two new coaches are in place to lead our women’s lacrosse and softball programs.

    Football claimed third place in its second year in the Big South Conference, in a season that included a last-second loss to #1 ranked Coastal Carolina at homecoming and an upset over nationally ranked Liberty one week earlier. With an expanding roster of program alumni who are current or former NFL players, the Hawks have continued to build momentum in anticipation of the Monmouth Stadium project.

    Measures of Progress

    In November the West Long Branch Zoning Board cleared the way for construction of the Monmouth University Stadium, voting unanimously in favor of the project.

    State of the U 2016 - Stadium

    With the approval, Monmouth is on track for a much-needed upgrade to the athletic home of more than half of the University’s 535 NCAA Division I student-athletes, including football,  men’s and women’s lacrosse, and track and field teams.

    More than 75 percent of private funding is in place for the project, and we are on target to open the new stadium in time for football to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a face off against Lafayette College in early September of 2017.

    More immediate transformations to our campus in the last year include Pozycki Hall, a magnificent addition generously donated by Elaine and Stephen Pozycki ’73. Our students have embraced the facility, which opened in September, with a formal request from the Student Government Association to keep the building open later each night as a study space.

    The request supports one of the key objectives of our strategic plan, which is to continue to offer more opportunities for students outside of the classroom, and outside of traditional 9-to-5 office hours.

    State of the U 2016 - Science Building

    Unseasonably warm weather throughout the fall has advanced the timetable for extensive renovations to our School of Science buildings. Construction on the foundation, footings, and structure of the new central atrium formerly occupied by “the Link,” are underway and we expect the project to be completed by end of 2017.

    Other campus improvements include renovations to Pollak Theatre that entails an expansion of the stage, new seats, carpeting, curtains, and painting. The upgrade, which began in December, will be completed in late January.

    Confidence in our Mission

    Gifts and pledges received in 2015 totaled more than $14.5 million, surpassing the previous year’s total of $10.5 million. While final accounting is still underway, this also marks the third consecutive year that our generous alumni and friends contributed more than $10 million, a new benchmark of unprecedented and sustained support for Monmouth University.

    State of the U 2016 - Scholarship Students

     I am especially pleased that support for student scholarships has been strong. Increasing scholarship opportunities through endowments and unrestricted general funds continues to be an emphasis for me and for Monmouth University.

    Twelve new endowed scholarships totaling more than $1.2 million were established in 2015, representing a 50 percent increase in the number of endowed scholarships created in 2014, and an increase of more than 250 percent in the total dollars committed to endowed scholarships over the same period.

    This milestone financial support from our alumni, parents, and friends are a demonstrable vote of confidence in the value of a Monmouth degree, our broader mission and our ambitious goals for the future of the University.

    Our Continuing path to Excellence

    Our achievements in 2015 have been impressive, and I encourage your active engagement throughout 2016 to help us achieve our ambitious goals for our future. We are on an accelerating trajectory to greater achievements and a greater impact on our region and our nation, as we stretch our wings and soar toward our potential.