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State of the University: Academic and faculty success, local support, legislative backing generating powerful momentum for ULM

Published August 14, 2019

“I think that people are beginning to realize the importance of this university … “
President Nick J. Bruno, ULM State of the University address

University of Louisiana Monroe President Dr. Nick J. Bruno welcomed a full house of faculty, staff and community members to his annual State of the University address Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 in Brown Auditorium.

ULM President Nick J. Bruno 

It is a ULM tradition for the president to highlight achievements and accomplishments of the past year during University Week, just a few days before the new academic year begins. Fall 2019 classes begin on Monday, Aug. 19.

Bruno began by recognizing the local and state officials in attendance and acknowledging members of the Legislature.

“These legislators have been amazing to this university. They have stuck by us through thick and thin,” Bruno said. “I think that people are beginning to realize the importance of this university and higher ed as a whole and how we can build our state through building a better workforce, a more educated workforce, a more educated populace.” 

Addressing the faculty and staff, Bruno said, “We had an impressive year, part by your hard work, your commitment. You have remained committed to our students and by staying committed to our students you’ve been committed to this university.”

Providing examples of accomplishments from each of the four colleges, Bruno commented on two unique items: Doppler radar and Talons for Taps.

“Doppler radar did more than most people know. The recent tornado in Ruston was identified by our Doppler radar first, and was sent to the National Weather Service. That’s one of those things no one knows. They actually picked up our data and sent it to the National Weather Service, which was able to warn Ruston 30 minutes to an hour sooner. Or the devastation would have been much greater. Possibly with more loss of life,” he said.

About VAPA’s Talons for Taps, Bruno said, “This is something that is really significant to me. The program provides student volunteer trumpeters to perform ‘Taps’ at funerals and memorials for U.S veterans. That particular program went national as far as recognitions. What a patriotic effort on their part.”

Bruno addressed accomplishments by faculty, student athletes, program rankings, accreditation, building projects, VCOM, club sports, campus safety, special events, grants, enrollment, retention and graduation rates and comparisons with other state institutions.

“Any way you cut it, the university is doing quite well,” he said.

His final points were on funding and the recent financial support from the Legislature.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank these legislators. Our legislative delegation stuck together for this university. Our chambers reached out, our cities reached out,” he said. “This was the most rewarding feeling to see the support this university garnered for funding. And we didn’t let them down. The numbers we’re showing, we’re doing a heck of a job for the taxpayers of Louisiana with the money we are receiving. I really think that better days for ULM are ahead, the budget situation looks better … we have to continue to do what is in our control.”

In closing, Bruno encouraged faculty and staff to be active in recruiting for ULM.

“Everybody is a recruiter. Each and every one of us know friends and family and alums that have high school-aged students. We have to tell them this information. We have to tell them how good this university is,” he said. “Invite them to come and take a tour here. We get them to this campus, we keep them. Those are things that you can do as faculty and staff to contribute to the success of this university, in addition to your fabulous teaching, research and scholarship.”

State of the University facts and figures

  • Maintained Carnegie R3 Doctoral University designation and named a U.S. News & World Report Best National University for the 3rd consecutive year.
  • ULM Online ranked No. 1 Best Online University in Louisiana by thebestschools.org.
  • The Risk Management and Insurance program ranked 9th in the nation by Business Insurance.
  • M.S. of Nursing at Kitty Degree School of Nursing accredited through 2023.
  • The Hawkeye student-run newspaper won first place for Best College Newspaper at the 2018 Southeast Journalism Conference.
  • Precision Ag and UAS Research Center one of only a few university programs in the nation conducting drone research into agricultural applications.
  • Gerontology Graduate Program is the only one of its kind in the state.
  • Kitty DeGree School of Nursing undergraduate class of Fall 2018 had a 100 percent passage rate. In May the first class of nurse practitioners graduated with a 92 percent passage rate on the certification exam.
  • College of Pharmacy reopened a regional campus in New Orleans in Fall 2018, reestablishing a presence in the city for the first time since 2005.
  • Dr. Matthew Talbert, Associate Professor of Biology, received a $352,500 National Institute for Health grant for obesity-diabetes research.
  • Katie Dawson, Interim Director of ULM Online, named the 2018 Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year for Region 8.
  • Football’s multi-year academic progress rate score of 967 ranks first in the Sunbelt Conference.
  • ULM Ski Team won its 29th National Championship.
  • The ULM Safe app was developed to provide users direct access to University Police, 911 and other services. The free app is on the App Store and Google Play and available to anyone
  • ULM developed the state’s first virtual reality computer lab — the state-of-the-art Thomas J. Nicholson Virtual Reality Lab on the second floor of the library.
  • The new Wally Jones Golf Complex is almost finished and was completely funded by private donations.
  • Since Jan. 1, 2019, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research had 54 new grants funded. As of July 31, 2019, OSPR has had $10.7 million in new grants funded. The goal for this year is $17.5 million in grants.
  • ULM Online has a record 1,652 enrollment for Fall 2019. 
  • The SOAR Campaign exceeded its five-year goal with a total of $56,000,985.
  • The Louisiana Legislature approved a capital outlay request for Sugar and Caldwell halls. The planning and design phase is expected to begin this year.