UNC Pembroke Chancellor Allen C. Meadors reported to the Board of Trustees Friday - for the third year in a row - that the university has broken all-time enrollment records.
In other action, the Board of Trustees officially named the Track and Soccer Complex for Charlotte philanthropist Irwin Belk and the track itself for Dick and Lenore Taylor of Lumberton.
Mr. Belk, retired president of Belk stores and a long time contributor to higher education, contributed $250,000 for permanent seating, press box, lockers and offices and the new Belk Track and Soccer Complex. Dick and Lenore Taylor contributed $50,000.
Early indications pointed to another record year for enrollment, and Chancellor Meadors confirmed it. He reported record enrollment of:
- 4,433 students (a 12.7% increase from 2001 and a 48% increase from 1999)
- 724 freshmen (a 3.7% increase)
- 429 transfer students (a 15.1% increase from 2001)
- 482 graduate students (a 12.8% increase from 2001)
- 186 full-time faculty (24 new faculty positions were added this year.)
- 941 Native American students
- 916 African American students
- 812 education majors (a 17.1% increase from 2001)
All figures listed above are all-time records for UNCP.
"The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is the fastest growing university in the state - public or private - over the last three years," Chancellor Meadors said.
"The most amazing number of all is the 37 percent growth in Native American students since 1999, at a time when the number of Native American high school graduates is declining," Chancellor Meadors said.
"We are also very, very proud of the increase in students seeking certification in education," Chancellor Meadors said. "There are 47 universities in North Carolina that train teachers and none of them can match that increase."
Since 1999, UNCP has increased the number of education majors by 78.5 percent. Elementary education is now the most popular major on campus.
"Another number that defies conventional logic is that our freshman SAT average is up 11 points," Chancellor Meadors said. "A lot of people said that growth in enrollment would result in a decline in the academic standards for our student body."
Future shortages of student housing and campus parking are being addressed, administrators said. A new residence hall will be ready by August 2004. The university is also in negotiations with private developers to add off-campus housing, Chancellor Meadors said.
"We do not want to be in a position to turn students away," said Trustee Roger Oxendine.
Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Neil Hawk said planning for a "temporary campus" to house classrooms, labs and offices for academic buildings that are scheduled for renovation is underway. He said it would have the look and feel of a permanent campus.
In other news, Gary Oxendine of Southern Pines is the new chair of the Board of Trustees, Henry Lewis of Lumberton is vice chair and Sybil Bullard of Red Springs is secretary.