President Ross announces three-year degree option, major gift

At the State of the University address, Ross also announced $1 million gift for soccer stadium, approval of new master plan
President Ross announces three-year degree option, major gift

Published Oct. 21, 2009

In his fourth annual State of the University address today, Lynn University President Kevin M. Ross announced that the university will begin offering a new three-year degree program that will save eligible undergraduate students more than $45,000 on the cost of their degree at the private, not-for-profit institution. Ross also used his annual address to faculty, staff and student leaders, to announce a $1 million anonymous gift in support of a new Lynn soccer stadium and introduced Lynn’s January Term speaker, philanthropist and TOMS Shoes’ chief shoe giver, Blake Mycoskie.

But the major announcement of the day was the university’s upcoming launch of a three-year degree program, which will debut in the fall of 2010. While the program details are still being finalized, Ross said the program will be aimed at allowing Lynn’s “most driven” students to complete their undergraduate degree at Lynn in three years. The shortened timeframe will allow eligible students to save, at a minimum, one year’s tuition and fees, as well as related housing expenses.

“Today I am proud to announce our firm decision to offer eligible students a three-year degree option, dubbed Lynn Degree 3.0, beginning in the fall of next year,” said Ross. “We believe our adoption of a three-year degree will make us even more attractive to potential students.”

Ross also used his annual speech to recap a successful year at the institution, which included a $6.5 million fundraising effort and the ground breaking on the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center and Perper Tennis Complex, projects that are both being funded through the generosity of donors and which will be opened to the public in the spring of next year. Ross also highlighted the 2008 launching of the university’s new undergraduate core curriculum – and Lynn’s inaugural January Term, as well as the Fighting Knights’ NCAA Division II National Championship in baseball, among other milestones.

New Lynn Master Plan approved

Ross also mentioned in his noon-time address the recent completion of the university’s latest master plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees at their Friday, Oct. 16 meeting.

State of the University - Jen Herzog

Key features of the plan include a university center that serves as the real heart of the campus, additional meeting rooms and workspaces, a wide range of new academic buildings and athletic facilities, as well as other residential features.

At the university’s urging, the plan also focuses on sustainable outcomes, setting ambitious goals to significantly cut carbon emissions, water building use and site water use, while increasing native plantings and reducing waste taken off site. The plan will go to the City of Boca Raton for approval next month.

Lynn’s place in the national dialogue

But while Ross spent much of his address highlighting Lynn’s recent successes and outlining new initiatives, the president also used the opportunity to update the campus on goings-on at other institutions, both in South Florida and across the country. In addition to discussing the swelling enrollments at the nation’s public four-year institutions, the continued expansion of the for-profit sector, and the move by many Florida community colleges to start offering bachelor’s degrees, Ross also mentioned the White House challenge to see more Americans earning college degrees within the next decade.

State of the University - Denise Belafonte

“We will certainly have a role to play in that,” he said. “And I know we’re up to the challenge.”

Ross, now in his fourth year as president, ended his speech by reminding the 350 staff and faculty in the university’s Green Center of their role in helping the institution continue in its mission to serve students, the local community, the country, and the world at large.

“Lynn will continue to offer the education, environment and support that the students of today require to succeed tomorrow – whatever that tomorrow looks like,” said Ross, referencing the current economic downturn. “And because of that, I still can say that the state of our university is strong. Thank you each again for all you do for our university.”