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USM is 'Thriving' says President Cummings at 2017 Opening Breakfast

President Glenn Cummings

The University of Southern Maine begins its 2017-2018 academic year with increasing financial stability, surging student numbers and ambitious plans for the future, President Glenn Cummings said Aug. 24 at the annual Opening Breakfast.

“Our vision is great academic excellence marked by real world, authentic experiences that give students added value in education, and we are uniquely positioned to do it,” Cummings said.

People are catching on.

New student data for Fall 2017 shows undergraduate admissions numbers are rising. They include a 6 percent increase in applications, an 8 percent rise in admits, an 11 percent rise in deposits and an 8 percent increase in enrollments, said Nancy Davis Griffin, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs. Similar numbers for Graduate school programs are either even or climbing.

Ongoing work to increase the availability of financial aid has resulted in 574 more applications than last year, Griffin said. And on the Gorham campus, occupancy as risen to 109 percent.

“We are providing good living communities that are educationally based, and we will provide good learning opportunities for each and every student,” Griffin said. “We know we have maxed out housing and will need some housing options for next year.”

George N. Campbell, Jr., President and CEO of USM Foundation/VP of Advancement, talked about long-term plans.

He showed artist drawings of new dorms and a new student center on the Portland Campus. He also showed images of a new performing arts center that would include a 1,000-seat performance space.

“How do we invite the community in from one of the greatest cities in America while showcasing the talent of our music and theater departments?” he asked.

It’s all proof that USM is "thriving," Cummings said.

He also implored USM faculty and staff to keep working towards the slogan, “Student focused every day.”

“We are changing the world,” Cummings said, “We are so blessed to have the mission we have and that is our goal.”Image of 2017 Opening Breakfast