Greene County News
FAIRBORN — Wright State University President David R. Hopkins wants the university to position itself differently and not rest on its laurels to succeed in the increasingly competitive environment of higher education.
“We cannot shy away from our relentless pursuit to continue to build a university more relevant to the needs of 21st century Ohio,” said Hopkins. “We must continue to be entrepreneurial and innovative in everything we do. We must find even more effective ways for our students to succeed.”
Hopkins addressed students, faculty and staff in the Student Union Apollo Room on Sept. 7 during the University Convocation, which marks the beginning of fall semester.
He recapped the achievements at Wright State over the past decade.
Since 2007, enrollment has increased by about 8 percent, a record number of high school valedictorians and salutatorians enrolled at Wright State last fall, and more than 30,000 students — 38 percent of whom were first-generation college students — earned their degrees over the past decade, Hopkins said.
“We’re about inclusion. We’re about affordability. We’re about providing a quality experience,” he said. “And most importantly we’re about quality outcomes.”
Hopkins said the university has invested in Centers of Excellence, built the Student Success Center and the Neuroscience Engineering Collaboration Building, expanded and modernized the Creative Arts Center and cut the ribbon on the Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures.
And since 2007, the university has brought in more than $700 million in research grant and contract awards, the largest amount in the school’s history, he said. It also began launching annual regional summits to attract community leaders and map out the region’s economic future. And it gave birth to the Dayton Regional STEM School.
Hopkins also said the university has diversified its revenue stream to tackle its financial challenges. For example, he said, the Rise. Shine. fundraising campaign has attracted $160 million in private donations, pledges and in-kind gifts from 30,000 donors so far.
“Working together these last 10 years, we have a lot to be proud of,” said Hopkins, who was named president in 2007 and plans to retire at the end of June 2017. “Together we have navigated and continue to navigate an unprecedented variety of challenges in this very increasingly competitive higher education environment.”
But he said the university’s transformation is not complete.
“We cannot sit still and go backwards in the 21st century of higher education,” he said.