Initial fall enrollment figures for Ouachita Baptist University reflect a significant increase of 4 percent over last year’s enrollment.
Coupled with a pair of No. 1 rankings for Ouachita from U.S. News & World Report and major construction projects on campus, the university is experiencing positive momentum, according to Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr.
A total of 1,470 on-campus students have registered for fall classes, a gain of 54 over the previous year’s total of 1,416. The overall total is expected to approach 1,500 when off-campus class enrollment is reported.
The enrollment jump “has a very affirming impact upon our campus and various constituencies,” Dr. Horne noted. “Any increase for a private Christian school is significant in these challenging economic times.”
Horne said he anticipates that this year’s enrollment gain will provide “a strong signal for the ongoing growth of Ouachita over the next several years.”
“This is a real tribute to the cooperation of the admissions counselors and faculty and staff who have committed themselves to making recruiting a priority,” he added.
Acknowledging that the enrollment growth “is not the result of just one year’s work but a number of years of working hard,” Dr. Horne said, “It does show that if we stay at the task, there are years when it comes together – and this clearly is one of those years. I am confident the momentum will continue as the word about Ouachita continues to grow and spread.”
Dr. Stan Poole, Ouachita’s vice president for academic affairs, affirmed that “faculty and staff members are excited to see a larger freshman class,” adding that increased enrollment “has a positive impact on both the faculty and students.”
“In terms of academic progress,” Dr. Poole said, “there are areas where we can easily accommodate more students and it generally strengthens our programs when each of the academic areas is experiencing growth.”
Along with the enrollment gain, Ouachita recently was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 baccalaureate college in the South as well as the No. 1 “Great Schools, Great Prices” baccalaureate school in its region.
“It is easy to build on that recognition because we do have an excellent academic institution that is strongly aligned with our Christian faith,” President Horne emphasized. “An increase in enrollment also enables us to more quickly fund some of the priorities for our students and their education.”
Another highly visible example of campus growth is a state-of-the-art student housing complex currently under construction. The $45 million campus expansion project includes approximately $33 million for a two-phase construction plan that will provide housing for more than 500 students. Phase one of the housing project is expected to be completed by December 2009.
Related projects include a new campus entrance, pedestrian bridge and maintenance facility as well as expansion of the university’s Evans Student Center and renovation of the Sturgis Physical Education Center.
For more information about Ouachita Baptist University, visit www.obu.edu or call 1-800-DIAL-OBU.
by Trennis Henderson