Marking Ouachita Baptist University’s second largest fall enrollment in more than a decade, Ouachita faculty and staff welcomed a total of 1,543 students to classes this fall.
The 2013 fall semester total, which is a slight increase over last fall’s total, marks the fourth consecutive year the university’s fall enrollment has exceeded 1,500 students. Additionally, this fall’s incoming freshman class topped 390, an increase of more than 9 percent over the previous year.
“Once again the campus has come back to life as our students and faculty have returned to launch another promising academic year,” said Dr. Stan Poole, vice president for academic affairs. “We’re pleased with the substantial increase in the size of the freshman class, as well as our overall student headcount, which topped 1,500 for the fourth consecutive year.”
While “higher education across our state and nation faces enrollment challenges,” Ouachita President Rex Horne said, “We are pleased at the slight growth over last year. We also can anticipate continued progress and growth due to ongoing enrollment strategies and new academic plans.”
As students began fall classes, the university community gathered in Jones Performing Arts Center for Ouachita’s annual Convocation Chapel.
Noting that Ouachita was “founded and grounded by believers so many years ago,” President Horne told students, “This university continually presses toward excellence in education. Our faculty is prepared, dedicated and serves with a sense of calling. You will benefit far beyond tuition dollars you pay and time you spend here. The greatest investment is not made by you but in you under the guidance of these faculty members seated before you. They will help you to be what you want to be – difference makers.”
Citing the death of longtime history professor Tom Auffenberg a few days earlier, Dr. Horne said, “Beside me is a chair with the academic regalia of Dr. Tom Auffenberg. Tom came to Ouachita 40 years ago, not much older than you are today.
“I asked for his regalia to be part of our convocation today as a reminder that Tom believed in this place and her people,” Dr. Horne reflected. “He came here, he lived here, he taught here. He exemplified what is best among our faculty and staff who serve here.”
Inviting first-year students, faculty and staff to stand, Dr. Horne concluded, “You are now a part of the legacy and life of Ouachita. You are walking on sacred ground where generations of men and women have served, studied and lived. You will never be the same because of this place.”
Ouachita Baptist University, a leading liberal arts university, is ranked nationally among America’s top colleges by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes magazines. Founded in Arkadelphia in 1886, Ouachita seeks to foster a love of God and a love of learning in a Christ-centered learning community.