Propelled by a record-shattering number of freshmen, enrollment set another all-time record at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors reported to the Board of Trustees on September 1, that enrollment was officially 5,632 for the fall semester. That is an increase of 12 percent from last fall and almost 90 percent since 1999.
A total of 985 freshmen enrolled, 225 more than last year for a one-year gain of nearly 30 percent.
“This is incredible, incredible news,” Chancellor Meadors said. “Congratulations go to the Office of Admissions on doing a great job.”
The University continues to become more diverse with continued gains in all ethnic groups, including Asian, Hispanic, African American and American Indian.
“We truly represent America,” Chancellor Meadors said. “We are now rank number one in the South by U.S. News for diversity.”
Chancellor Meadors also noted an increase in students living on campus. There are approximately 2,000 residential students on campus and at University Courtyard and Pembroke Point apartment complexes just off campus, University officials said.
“UNCP is now a residential campus,” Chancellor Meadors said. “This is an amazing change. This is an extremely exciting time for us.”
Three new residential units that would house nearly 400 students and a new classroom building are in the planning stages.
UNCP is in the middle of a $120 million construction boom, Chancellor Meadors said. Growth has not been limited to enrollment and construction.
“We have been hiring faculty to keep up with enrollment growth,” he said. “We have the highest proportion of classes under 20 students among public universities in North Carolina.”
Class sections are up 117 percent and full-time faculty has grown 58 percent since 1999.
Fundraising is another area of remarkable growth, Chancellor Meadors said. The University has already raised $2 million this fiscal year, including $1 million earmarked for academic programs and $1 million for the new football program.
“If the Office for Advancement all went home today, just two months into this fiscal year, we would have the best year in the history of fundraising at UNCP,” he said. “We need about $4 million for the capital costs for our football team. We need the community to step up to the plate.”
In other business, three trustees were sworn in, including Marko Gospojevich, president of the Student Government Association.
Pembroke Mayor Milton Hunt joined the board for a three-year term as an appointee of Gov. Mike Easley. Hunt was the Lumbee Tribe’s first elected chair and he served two terms on the Board of Trustees of Robeson Community College.
Roger Oxendine returns to the board for three years as a UNC Board of Governors’ appointee. Previously, he served two terms on UNCP’s board and was chair when Chancellor Meadors was hired in 1999.
From Rowland, N.C., Oxendine is an agribusinessman, and he is chair of the Board of Directors of Lumbee River Electric Membership Cooperative.