Friday, August 25, 2017

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Incoming enrollment up at SUNY New Paltz

NEW PALTZ – Thursday morning witnessed yet another moving-in day for incoming freshmen and transfer students at the SUNY New Paltz campus. As usual, the weather was perfect, with distant mountains draping clear blue skies far into the distance.

College President Donald Christian stood outside Esopus Hall, one of the new dormitories, to welcome his latest batch of wide-eyed arrivals, lugging personal belongings inside, assisted by family members and some upper class athletes.

The annual first day tradition was embellished this year with the appearance of his wife, Sandy, offering greetings with their adorable Dachshund puppy. Teams of collegiate athletes took turns volunteering with heavy lifting. A grinning Hawk mascot waved hello.


Dr. Christian and the Hawk, ready to help

So were some athletic team members

Enrollment numbers keep growing. A total of 1,150 freshmen and 900 transfers were culled from 16,600 applications. The lucky few have earned the privilege to receive an education at this blend of quality program, affordable price, and beautiful environment.

“We’ve done well this year; we have one of our largest incoming classes, by some measure the largest ever, if you look at first-year students and transfer students combined,” President Christian said.

The New York Excelsior Scholarship Program may have contributed to the swell in attendance, Christian noted, but perhaps as well, the welcoming attitude and strong reputation enjoyed by SUNY New Paltz.

“We had about 1,200 applications so far, and awarded Excelsior Scholarships to about 400 students; that number will undoubtedly climb, but we don’t know how far it will go,” Christian said.

Earlier this year, SUNY New Paltz cut the ribbon for the new Science Hall, and will break ground next month on a new Engineering & Innovation Hub, funded with state economic development grants. Also, a rooftop solar microgrid project will be unveiled in October.

Observing the waves of fresh and excited faces milling past him, Dr. Christian said he often reflects upon his responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing atmosphere for his students. Considering the modern pace of technology, unimaginable possibilities await.

“Oh my goodness, what would the world be like 100 years from now?” Christian asked. “All societies will continue to need education in some form. It’s really hard to make a prediction on that. I tend to think in terms of five to ten-year windows, striving to meet needs of today, while positioning the college for adventures tomorrow.

 


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