Lynn President Brings Message of Continued Strength at State of the University Address

Ross announces new challenge grant by Elaine Wold and family to further support performing arts center

Published Oct. 08, 2008

Lynn University President Kevin M. Ross, for the third straight year, used his annual State of the University address to provide a packed house of faculty and staff with assurances – and proof – of the university’s continued good health, exciting new details surrounding major campus projects, and some high profile praise from national higher education officials. But before launching into the more than 40-minute address, which was also streamed live online for alumni, students and parents, Ross paused with another message more squarely aimed at the headlines coming out of Washington and Wall Street in recent days.

See President Ross’ 2008 address in its entirety

Available for download: 2008 State of the University speech

See news coverage of the 2008 State of the University in the Palm Beach Post, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Boca Raton News.

“We have toiled to grow a reputation, to build a physical infrastructure, and to mine the potential of ourselves and the students that entrust us with their education,” he said of the university. “And here at a time when many are worried about the storms spiraling off Wall Street, I’m here to tell you that you need not worry.”

“I’m here to give you confidence today; here to tell you about the strength of this university and your continued role in the life of this place, and, more importantly, in the lives of the students we serve,” he said.

Ross followed up on this declarative with a list of accolades and accomplishments that included details surrounding Lynn’s 46th freshman class – a class that will, as he pointed out, graduate in the year of the university’s 50th anniversary. It was a class, he said, whose average SAT scores were up 26 points over last year, and the mean SAT score for the university’s incoming honor students increased by 57 points.

High praise for the ‘Dialogues of Learning’

Another high note in the speech was Ross’ praise aimed at the Lynn faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Patterson. The faculty, under Patterson, had spent the last 18 months building a new core curriculum for the university – a curriculum Ross said would make the university one of the most distinct institutions of its size in the country. He also offered, as proof of the accomplishment, a quote from Carol Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the leading national association concerned with the quality and vitality of undergraduate liberal education.

Schneider called the university’s new core curriculum “inspirational. With the new general education curriculum, the university will ensure that Lynn students graduate richly prepared for life, work and citizenship in this volatile global century. I’m sure,” she continued, “your students will benefit enormously from this new direction and I applaud you all for taking the lead to develop and implement this curriculum so quickly.”

Ross also used the Wednesday afternoon address as an occasion to announce that the university continued to enjoy generous support from friends, families and alumni in the year just passed. Already, the university has raised more than $23 million in cash and pledges in support of its long range strategic plan, Lynn 2020, that was launched in 2005. Additionally, he announced the university had seen a 44.5 percent increase in charitable cash in the last year and that alumni giving, a classic barometer of institutional health, had doubled over the last two years and now makes up nearly a quarter of all gifts to the university.

The Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center

But the biggest news of the event was saved for the final minutes of the address, when Ross announced a new gift of support from the Wold family for the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center.

“Elaine and the entire Wold family are incredible friends of our university. And I am happy to announce today that her gift towards the construction of this center has just grown even more, to an astounding $9.3 million through an additional $2.3 million challenge grant.”

“Elaine is truly a difference maker in our community, and her grace and generosity will have a tremendous impact on our students,” Ross said to a round of applause.

Ross ended the hour-long event by assuring, for the third straight year, that the university continues to be “strong.” “And each day,” he added, “through the drive and dedication of our faculty and staff; the confidence and kindness of our friends and neighbors; and the strength and spirit of our students – we are getting stronger.”

Read more about Dr. Ross and the Office of the President at Lynn.