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Mon, August 24, 2015

Welcome back, students!

The crowds in the dining halls, impromptu games of Frisbee and throngs of students navigating campus by map can only mean one thing: The 2015 fall semester has begun!

This week we have a record number of first-year students, bringing total enrollment to nearly 9,000 strong. The No. 1 reason these new students said they selected Missouri S&T is our academic reputation, followed by the quality and types of degrees and programs we offer. Looking at the credentials of our new students, it’s clear this class will extend our legacy of excellence into the future. About one-third of our new students were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and there are 126 valedictorians and salutatorians among them. 

Just as impressive, a full 20 percent of our first-year students are first-generation college students. This is a true testament to the transformative role Missouri S&T plays for our students and their families.

As you spot our new students — whether first-year or transfer students — please take a moment to welcome them to Miner Nation!

A class for the record books

We are expecting to break a few records here in Rolla this fall. This week we have 1,490 first-year students. That’s the largest class we’ve ever had (just over our previous high watermark of 1,488, which was set in 1981).

These new Miners hail from 34 U.S. states and nine countries and join a total student body representing all 50 states and 60 countries.

Also of interest, a full third of our new students took at least one class through Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW is a national organization that develops K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula and trains teachers in an interdisciplinary, project-based method. Missouri S&T has been the state affiliate for this program since 2006, and nearly 1,800 teachers have trained here since then.

In addition, 19 percent of our first-year students attended a Missouri S&T summer camp before deciding to go to college here. These numbers show me that our K-12 education programs continue to yield excellent dividends for our university and state.

Are you experienced?

Hands-on learning has been a hallmark of the Missouri S&T experience since our founding 145 years ago. Students and employers trust that our graduates are ready to make an immediate, positive impact in the workplace.

This fall, we are taking this approach up a notch. Our first-year students will be the first class required to complete an experiential learning component — regardless of major — as a condition for graduation. Experiential learning may take on many forms, from studying abroad to internships to participating on a design team. Learn more about students engaged in experiential learning here.

Did you know?

Although the university is growing rapidly, Missouri S&T retains a small-college feel and is part of the cozy community of Rolla. In fact, we’ve just been recognized as one of the best small-town colleges in the nation by Missouri S&T was named the sixth-best small-town campus among public universities in the U.S. In addition to noting our rich academic heritage, the site praised our community: “The Meramec Valley boasts a diverse landscape, rich with rivers, natural areas, and pre-Civil War railroad history. ... Rich in arts and culture, shopping and more, Rolla offers something for every taste.” I could not have said it better myself!

My best wishes to all members of Miner Nation as we begin a new academic year. For even more news, follow me on Twitter at @SandTChancellor.

Warmest regards,

Cheryl B. Schrader, Ph.D.
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