Thanksgiving and Christmas are behind us, and the New Year is rapidly approaching – a good time to reflect upon all the good things that were accomplished in 2014, the gifts and blessings we received, and to contemplate the year ahead, with its new possibilities and opportunities.
There is no doubt that 2014 was an outstanding year for the University of Rhode Island. The year included another budget increase from the state, a tuition freeze, support for required electrical utility upgrades, approval by state government and the voters for $125 million to renew the College of Engineering facilities, and the approval and ground-breaking for the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center (part of a transformational $215 million project with Brown University and Rhode Island College). Fall 2014 saw URI reach its highest enrollment in history, with a record-setting entering class. Indeed there was much to appreciate and for which to be thankful.
As President, the gifts that mean the most, and the things for which I am most thankful, are associated with the people of the University of Rhode Island: the achievements of our faculty as teachers and scholars; the dedication of our staff; the success and accomplishments of our students. Our community is continuously setting higher standards for itself and all its members, and then, far more often than not, surpassing those standards. The achievements of our students, staff, and faculty are gaining increased attention and respect across the state. I think this is one of the clear messages demonstrated by the very positive support of the business community and the people of Rhode Island for our College of Engineering bond question.
The New Year will certainly bring both new opportunities and challenges. I am optimistic that there will be much more to celebrate at the end of 2015. And I am confident that we will have much to be thankful for once again.