President Ross delivers 2013 Lynn University State of the University address

iPad initiative, presidential debate and several new buildings highlight the speech
President Ross delivers 2013 Lynn University State of the University address

Published Oct. 23, 2013

Lynn University President Kevin M. Ross outlined the many achievements of the last year and announced new projects for the coming year during his eighth State of the University address in the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center on Oct. 23.

The 2012-2013 academic year was a marquee year for the university that included many large events, such as the final 2012 presidential debate; innovative programs, including the iPad initiative; and the start of construction on several new buildings, such as the International Business Center. These activities brought a new level of attention to Lynn University, which President Ross pointed out in his speech.

“Today, I am excited to share with you that the state of the university is strong, but don’t just take my word for it,” Ross said, he then cited College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for College Students by Jeffrey Selingo, editor at large at the Chronicle of Higher Education, who "identified Lynn as one of America's forward-thinking universities."

Highlights of 2012-2013

Largest incoming class in six years

The largest incoming class in six years (since 2007) chose to come to Lynn in the fall of 2013. The university welcomed a total of 615 new undergraduate students. This group includes 587 new undergraduate day students and 28 undergraduate evening students, and is a six percent increase in new undergraduate student enrollment from fall 2012. The new class also brought in 193 new international students. Lynn now has 539 students from outside of the United States. These students represent 90 nations and make up 23.9 percent of the total student body. This high percentage of internationals helped ensure Lynn was again ranked 4th in U.S. News and World Report for the nation’s highest percentage of international students.

Hosting of the presidential debate is a well-known achievement for Lynn. In fact, the one-year anniversary was the day before the State of the University speech, Oct. 22. University leaders do believe some of the increase in enrollment can be connected to the publicity surrounding the event’s impact. Although no specific quantitative number can prove this, one number that stands out is that 542 prospective students visited campus for a debate-themed visit program.

Positive impact of the presidential debate

“Yesterday was our one-year anniversary,” Ross said. “I know that I spoke about the debate at our last State of the University, but I wanted to share with you just a few numbers from our economic impact study released this past January."

Some of the impressive numbers from the study include a $13.1 million immediate economic impact for Palm Beach County; $63 million in publicity value for Lynn and the community, including $50 million for the City of Boca Raton; approximately 4,060 media in the area for the event; and more than 33,000 total news stories produced. Additionally, the #lynndebate hashtag trended top 3 nationwide and top 5 worldwide the night of the debate.

iPad Mini initiative

Lynn University launched the iPad Mini initiative, one of the most extensive tablet-based learning efforts in the country, when the university handed out more than 600 iPad minis to incoming students in August 2013. The tablets use Apple technology to deliver the university’s nationally praised core curriculum and greatly enhance students’ learning experience through curriculum custom enhanced by faculty with multimedia content—replacing traditional textbooks and saving students hundreds of dollars.

New buildings and construction begins

"A number of campus construction and enhancement projects have been completed or are in the process, and the two largest are Bobby Campbell Stadium and the International Business Center," Ross said. 

In March 2013, the university broke ground on the International Business Center during a ceremony complete with a School of Aeronautics flyover and a procession of 70 flags representing the nations of students currently enrolled in our College of Business and Management. The LEED-designed International Business Center will be a three-story, 32,000-square-foot building with flexible spaces and common work areas. The center is expected to be completed this summer and dedicated in fall 2014 at Parents and Families Weekend.

Another new structure currently being built, the Central Energy Plant, will help the International Business Center achieve LEED-certification. This 4,632-square-foot building will feature two 650-ton chillers to provide chilled water for air conditioners around campus through an expanded chilled water loop. This project will be completed in early 2014. The Central Energy Plant is a key component of Lynn’s comprehensive $10.7 million energy efficiency program, which is the largest single-phase university project of its kind in Florida and will result in a 30 percent utilities reduction for the university.

In February 2013, the university broke ground on Bobby Campbell Stadium—the new home of Lynn’s eight-time national championship soccer program. This facility will also be shared with the university’s new men’s lacrosse program. This lighted facility will feature covered stands, a plaza area and seating for 500 fans. 

National championships for Lynn athletics 

The Lynn Fighting Knights claimed two national championship titles over the last year. In December 2012, the men’s soccer team won the school's 20th national championship title, and fourth for the soccer team, in a 3-2 victory over Saginaw Valley State. Then, in May of 2013, the university's women’s golf team brought home Lynn's 21st national championship title when they beat four-time defending national champion Nova Southeastern by three strokes.

These achievements and the many others discussed in the State of the University speech occurred during Lynn's 50th year anniversary. A lot has changed since the school opened its doors, as Ross pointed out, "Over the past half a century, our institution grew from the two-year Catholic women’s Marymount College to the College of Boca Raton to the remarkable Lynn University of today."

Several new efforts announced

On Feb. 26 and 27, 2014, the campus will welcome Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods as its 2014 Dively Frontiers in Globalization speaker. His focus on sustainable business practices and products is in line with Lynn’s substantial Going Green efforts.

The youngest commencement speaker in Lynn's history, 26-year-old Sam Vaghar, gave last year's keynote address. He is the executive director of the Millennium Campus Network, and President Ross announced that Lynn will be hosting the 2014 Millennium Campus Conference next fall, an event that organizes campus student leaders around the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

In closing, Ross thanked the whole community for their help in making all of the university’s achievements happen, "Thank you all for being a part of this incredible university and all that is happening here at Lynn," he said. "Without the dedication of our faculty, staff and students, none of our tremendous accomplishments would have been possible. I appreciate you all joining me today, and I look forward to all that we can continue to accomplish together as the Lynn University family."

See a transcript of the entire speech.