New Academic Year Opens to Record Enrollment

Looking ahead to what he called "a year of growth and grace," the Most Rev. Kevin Rhoads of the Catholic Diocese of South Bend-Fort Wayne conducted Mass for the Opening Convocation and Mass on Aug. 31, signaling the beginning of the USF academic year. “The University of Saint Francis gathers at this Mass to invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit in everything we do,” the Bishop said.

USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss also welcomed new and current students and announced a record enrollment of 2,381 students this fall. A total 799 freshmen have joined the Cougar ranks for an increase of 4.5 percent, the largest class in school history, while residential students also shattered the university record at 412, up 5.6 percent over last year. New students have increased from 802 last year to 831 this fall for an increase of 2.6 percent.

The Graduate School has also increased enrollment from 116 to 141 since last year, for an increase of 21 percent. New students are largely enrolled in the new Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Education—Exceptional Needs degrees.

"We believe that our record enrollment numbers this fall are indicative of the university's reputation for academic excellence and dedication to a positive and meaningful experience for all of our students," President Kriss said.

In addition to the enrollment announcement, President Kriss reviewed accomplishments from the previous academic year, laid out major university projects and plans for 2011-2012 and emphasized the Franciscan value, "Encourage a trustful, prayerful community of learners," which will receiving special emphasis for the new academic year.

The day was also designated Founders Day to recognize and honor the university's founders, the Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Members of various convents and the order's Provincial Council attended the annual event. Lunch in the foyer of the Hutzell Athletic Center concluded the ceremonies.