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September 5, 2012

DWU’s enrollment at 45-year high; new science center partly to credit

MITCHELL — The adage appears true; if you build it, they will come.

Dakota Wesleyan University announced its 2012 fall enrollment today and the numbers are a credit to the university’s increased effort to retain current students, recruit high-caliber freshmen, and students’ interest in the campus’s newest building project – the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center.

The current enrollment for first-time students is 203, up from last year’s 169, and the overall enrollment for degree- and non-degree-seeking students this year is 847 – three less than the university’s all-time record in 1966.

“Our numbers are a credit to the type of education we offer: academically rigorous, but highly personal and individualized,” said Bob Duffett, president of DWU. “I credit our faculty with finding that important mix.

“I am thrilled to see the number of our South Dakota Opportunity Scholars grow to more than double what it was last year,” Duffett said. “That, and the fact that nearly 60 percent of our new students are pursuing science and healthcare-related majors, is evidence that there is great excitement for our new Corrigan Health Sciences Center.”

The science center is set to open in fall 2013, and the fast-growing trend of careers in the sciences has spurred a greater number of undergraduates seeking majors in those fields. According to DWU admissions statistics, 58 percent of the university’s new students are enrolled in majors under the College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences. The new facility is a four-story, 48,000-square-foot building that will contain chemistry, biology and physics labs; two undergraduate research labs equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for student use; four nursing simulation labs; classrooms for nursing, the sciences and mathematics; and faculty offices.

The academic profile of students has risen with the average freshman ACT at 22.4, and an average 3.36 GPA. Last year’s numbers were a 21.0 ACT and 3.13 GPA.

“Forty-six South Dakota Opportunity Scholars are in attendance this year,” said Missy Herr-Valburg, director of admissions at DWU. “We also had an extraordinary turnout for last year’s Randall Scholarship Day, which is our highest scholarship award. We awarded seven winners and, 42 of the 47 students who qualified for that award chose to come to DWU. We also have 32 of the 36 students who came to campus for our Presidential Scholarship Award Day, so the caliber of this year’s freshmen is extremely high.”

Sixty-eight percent of the first-year students are from South Dakota, with students also arriving from 24 other states and one Canadian province.

In addition to 80 transfer students and 78 students enrolled in the master’s program, the university’s retention rate was also steady, with 444 returning undergraduate students.

“This year’s increase in enrollment reflects a concerted effort by our entire campus community to share the positive outcomes of a Dakota Wesleyan University education.  Our admissions team and coaching staff recruited one of the academically strongest classes the school has seen in over three decades,” said Amy Novak, DWU provost. “Further, our entire community spent considerable effort focused on retention this past year, and the enrollment of current students reflects our efforts to create a positive experience for students both inside and outside the classroom.

“We look forward to further growth with the addition of online degrees and an MBA in strategic leadership slated to start in the fall of 2013.”

DWU is a private, liberal arts university associated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  For more information about Dakota Wesleyan University, go to www.dwu.edu.


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Last updated: 9/5/12