One of the great experiences I have in being president is getting to know students personally. They drop in to visit, they stop me on the sidewalk, they visit in the cafeteria to tell me their stories, their goals, their experiences here. We are fortunate to be a university whose mission is to inspire, challenge, and prepare our students for the futures they envision.
That’s what we focus on in this issue of Visions. You’ll read stories about the good work Admissions is doing in introducing students to the unique student experience offered at The W, the role that Athletics is playing in bringing new dimensions to student life, the support systems—both personal and academic—that the university offers to give guidance where needed, and innovative academic programs designed to meet the needs of today’s students and tomorrow’s job demands.
Most importantly, you’ll hear the personal stories of the great diversity of students who are The W. You’ll be moved at the challenges they face and overcome, the determination they show to reach a goal, and the universal love they have for this institution.
Over and over as students share their stories of The W, we hear a few themes repeated. Whatever their major, their method of study, or their age, all have found something compelling about this university. Here’s what I hear, and here’s what you’ll read in this issue:
From the moment they visit campus, students say they feel at home. “I knew this is where I wanted to be,” one says. “It feels like family,” says another. “There’s always someone to talk to or help.” “Everyone seems so happy.” This campus is not a one-size-fits-all. We welcome diversity of age, gender, ethnicity, beliefs. But from what our students tell us, whatever our differences may be, The W is welcoming and supportive of each individual. “It is home,” they say.
Every student you read about in this issue will tell you the same thing about their academic experience: “My professors care about me. They want me to succeed.” And repeatedly, you’ll hear students use the same expression: “At The W, I’m not just a number. My professor knows my name and answers my questions.” Students reflect the same kind of support among staff members they encounter. “They’ve guided me through,” says one. “I’ve learned the importance of being a professional.” Students are appreciative of the role models they get to know among both faculty and staff, as well as the leadership opportunities through student organizations and academic honor societies.
I WILL BE PREPARED.
Students come to The W to earn a degree and to define their future. That applies to 18-year-olds coming to us straight from home, and it applies to 46-year-olds who want to build stronger professional credentials. Of all the public universities in Mississippi, The W is proud to have the highest degree completion ratio. Our goal is to see students finish their academic preparation, earn a degree, and contribute to their communities and their state.
You’ll see in this issue of Visions that the members of The Long Blue Line are doing just that.