A Commitment to Student Achievement
Last Thursday was a great day of celebration! We explored Appalachian’s history during our Founders Day festivities, which included a research showcase with poster presentations by faculty, staff and students, a panel discussion with former Appalachian administrators, the dedication of a new statue of co-founder Lillie Shull Dougherty and the ringing of the Founders Bell for the first time. It was wonderful to see generations of Mountaineers gather to honor our beloved university.
As we celebrate our history, we also recognize our recent achievements. Our official enrollment numbers show we welcomed 19,280 students this fall.
Because of our focus on strengthening the culture of diversity and inclusion on our campus, it is meaningful to note nearly one in five of the first-year population is underrepresented and a record 17.4% of the total population is racially/ethnically diverse. Between 2014 and 2019, Appalachian has increased its total underrepresented student population by 47%.
Retention is a key performance indicator for universities across the nation. At Appalachian, our first- to second-year retention rate is 87.8%, well above the national average, and among underrepresented students, our retention rate is 87.2%, up from 82.3% in 2018.
These figures reflect both our commitment to admitting students who are poised to thrive at Appalachian and our dedication to providing resources that help students succeed once they are here.
As I shared in my remarks on the state of the university last week, funding is tight for academic institutions, and the landscape for higher education is uncertain. Our university is healthy, and we are approaching a landmark enrollment rate of 20,000. Tuition revenue has a direct and immediate impact on our bottom line — increased revenue leads to increased resources: for classroom resources, for salaries and additional personnel, for innovative and creative teaching and research endeavors.
We are focusing on the future, firmly rooted in our past and guided by our academic mission.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor