Despite a sluggish economy, enrollment at Creighton University reached a record 7,730 students this school year.
Those students came from around the world. They had an average incoming ACT score of 27, well above the national average. One of every four is a member of a racial or ethnic minority. Another quarter are the first in their families to go to college.
The Rev. Timothy R. Lannon, the university's president, said he's proud of those accomplishments. But he's also developing a plan for further student growth by 2016 that he says will increase tuition revenue.
“I am amazed at the progress that has been made at Creighton,” Lannon said before about 400 administrators, faculty members and students during his first Founders Week convocation speech. “I am confident that, God willing, we cannot even imagine the heights we will attain.”
Lannon outlined some of his long-term goals for Creighton, which included increasing revenue from new programs and higher enrollment, academic excellence and ensuring financial stability.
Lannon attributes such successes to what he calls the spirit of Creighton: academic excellence, religious faith, compassionate patient care and service to others.
“There is no university in the country like us,” he said.
Despite Creighton's accomplishments, Lannon said, he's nonetheless looking for ways to control costs, increase revenue and build savings.
Medical claims increased by about 20 percent over last fiscal year. CU finance officials are looking for ways to pull in the reins, and, if necessary, trim the school's budget.
Lannon said he wants to build Creighton's surplus funds “to provide operating flexibility and savings for the future.”
Lannon, a Mason City, Iowa, native, came to Creighton last year, replacing the Rev. John Schlegel, who retired June 30. He earned a math degree from Creighton in 1973. He's the university's first alumnus to serve as president.
Under Schlegel, Creighton saw a massive building boom and expansion and a $400 million fundraising campaign.
For his part, CU's new president said he's focusing on making the most of current buildings and how to make them more energy efficient. Donations were up $12 million during the last six months of 2011 over the same time the previous year, a 36 percent increase.
Dr. George F. Haddix, a retired Omaha businessman and philanthropist who earned a master's degree in mathematics from Creighton, gave $3 million to the President's Faculty Research Fund.
Lannon created the fund last fall in an effort to boost the research and scholarly work of full-time faculty members.
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