Wednesday, Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson gave the first State of the University address since 2012 in Wright Auditorium, which featured a discussion on East Carolina University's improvement over the last few years.
Mitchelson began his speech by addressing a few of the recent achievements made by ECU including the US News and World Report national ranking of 39 best in providing social mobility to graduates and a recognition in the Princeton Review.
“We’ve never been in the Princeton Review before, it lists the top 13% of universities and colleges in the land and we are proud of the fact that we made it and we will make a big deal out of the fact that we made it,” Mitchelson said.
Mitchelson then focused on how he wants to bring more students to ECU and work toward an increase in applications. He said though he saw a decline in enrollment in fall 2018, he is pleased with the amount of students who were accepted in fall 2019.
“Fall of 2018 was rough for a lot of reasons. Some of them are governance related. We had not met our goals for the first year bucket, the last year bucket or the graduate bucket, so we had a decline in total enrollment that some people made a big deal about,” Mitchelson said.
Graduate student and accounting major Taylor Chappell attended the address and said she agrees with Mitchelson regarding an increase of enrollment. She said the university is also looking for donations, due to the lack of alumni giving back.
“We really need to work on increasing enrollment because that will help us with the state legislature with how much were allocated to spend. Also looking for donations from donors. We have a lot of Alumni who aren't giving back to the university, that would be an awesome pot to go into,” Chappell said.
Having been in Greenville since 1999 he said he has seen the town grow in many ways, but is very proud of the development in Uptown as well as the new life sciences building, which will be the first piece of ECU prospective students will see when coming to campus.
“The last two years have been the most exciting because the uptown district is coming around in Dickinson Avenue and the high density student housing,” Mitchelson said.
Mitchelson shared his ambitions for further development along Reade Street including a hotel and a whole urban corridor.
He said he is proud of what has already been accomplished by the town of greenville, but wants to continue to grow the town and send it in a direction that will turn Greenville into an urban setting. With the development of the University and the town that surrounds it, more and more students will come to Greenville and allow for the university to grow.
“You don’t bring students to Greenville from a distance without a great destination,” Mitchelson said. “Building this destination together with the city is essential...I want this to be the destination of choice.”
Mitchelson plans to maintain recruitment in other regions of North Carolina further out west. He anticipates a lot of work will be required to continue the growth, but plans to stay focused on the mission and to care for the students of ECU.