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President Dietz Delivers Annual “State of the University” Address

President Dietz Delivers Annual “State of the University” Address

NORMAL – For the fifth time in as many years since taking office in 2014, ISU President Larry Dietz delivered his annual “State of the University” address – where he discussed the university’s accomplishments over the past year, as well as what it has to look forward to in the future.

Dietz delivered his address with many academic dignitaries and local legislators in attendance. Notable names in the audience included Normal Mayor Chris Koos, Normal City Manager Pamela Reece, and Bloomington Senator Bill Brady.

As in addresses of years past, President Dietz recognized many accomplishments that the university has to be proud of. However, this year – Dietz took a substantial amount of time to also recognize the people that make the university proud.

Members of ISU’s Mennonite College of Nursing in attendance were acknowledged, in celebration of its 100th year of existence. Multiple university groundskeepers were in the audience and received a warm round of applause, in appreciation for all their hard work to keep the university in pristine condition.

Over 20 of ISU’s newest international additions were also given a shout-out by Dietz. These students are part of ISU’s newest international program, titled “INTO Illinois State.” INTO is one Dietz’s latest brainchild’s, and has helped the university see a 7% increase in international students in just one year. INTO is a recruiting program used by ISU to pool top students from foreign countries in all parts of the globe.

President Dietz cited many initiatives that the university has to look forward to, with over six plans that are either currently in progress or in planning stages. Notable on-campus projects include renovations to the Bone Student Center, which is scheduled to be complete by 2020 – and the expansion of the Watterson Dining Complex, which just began construction over this past summer.

Throughout his speech, Dietz emphasized the university’s continued strong enrollment, stable financial outlook, and its continued commitment to ensuring student success.

“Our enrollment is strong. Classrooms, laboratories, and studios are consistently full, and our campus housing is at or near capacity…ISU also remains affordable, with a tuition fee and a room and board package that places the university in the lower half of the Illinois College Investment Scale.”

With that, Dietz also laid out three new scholarship initiatives – re-stating the university’s unwavering dedication to remain affordable throughout these challenging and uncertain economic times. The new scholarships include an Alumni Legacy scholarship, a Redbird Scholarship, and a McLean County Service scholarship. The university distributed over 45 million dollars in need and merit-based aid over this past year, and now that the university has a state budget to work with – the possibility exists for that number to increase.

When asked about how he thought the new state budget would impact his administration, Dietz was optimistic that it would help the university continue to take strides in making tuition costs more affordable for prospective students and their families.

“I think [that] symbolically, it does a lot. People appreciate stability, and it sends a positive note to prospective students and their families. Now that we have a budget, it makes things a lot more predictable for everyone. We still need to work harder on the actual amount of money and the overall appropriation, and we particularly need to work harder on this new funding formula to give Illinois State more of what it deserves to have.”

In addition to using the new state budget to its fullest advantage possible, President Dietz outlined other goals he had for the university, as well. Dietz hopes to continue to improve ISU’s already strong diversity numbers among its student body, along with the continued promotion of acceptance, understanding, and inclusion for all students who represent the university.

With the new school year now a month underway, President Dietz hopes that his new initiatives, along with the successful continuation of some pre-existing ones, will help all Redbirds continue to soar.

John Murray contributed to this story. 

John Murray

September 24th, 2018

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