As we begin our 145th year of delivering exceptional higher education needs in our city, region and state, I look forward to what lies ahead in the coming year. The university is primed - both in spirit and through its human capital - to seize the many opportunities that are undoubtedly before us.
As is tradition, we began the year with a series of convocations, at which time I was able to meet with all of our employees, including a great number of new academic staff and faculty members who are well prepared to teach our students and eager to collaborate with their colleagues. These new staff members are joined by some 1,700 new students, a record for UW-Platteville. The vast majority of our new students also attended the second annual student convocation, filling not only Velzy Commons, but also the Nohr Gallery. It is obvious they are as excited to begin the semester as I am.
Ten years ago, state tax support provided about 60 percent of our university's annual operating budget. Now, as this new class arrives, state support has dwindled to about 20 percent. We have to find other ways to support our students, and we are committed to finding those revenue sources to keep UW-Platteville accessible and affordable, while continuing to offer a high-quality education. Students are what makes this university successful and the future of the nation promising, and it is my expectation that students will engage as partners in their education and exhibit maturity in their roles in the classroom and in our community.
As our enrollment grows, we have also been planning our future physical growth. The campus master planning process is nearing completion, and we expect to have a plan to guide our physical growth over the years.
We will serve over 8,000 students this coming year, and the majority of them will be served here on campus. We expect great things. We have an excellent faculty and staff that are committed to students and their learning. We have great students who are ready to be coached and challenged. We have great employers who are eager to hire our graduates. And, most important of all, we have a safe and nurturing community that provides an environment that supports the educational process inside the classroom and out.
The Platteville community is as much a part of our great institution as the professors who stay late and meet with students, the office staff members who through their smiles make UW-Platteville feel like home, and the students who engage in their own development, in this campus and in the greater Platteville community.
Remember that UW-Platteville's Homecoming week is Oct. 11-17 and we have many fun activities for the whole community to participate in, so let us celebrate together as a community. This town and university are part of something greater with a very long history, and the more we embrace that partnership, the more we all can develop together.