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Message from President Tessa Martinez Pollack

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As we come to the end of the year, it is a good time to reflect on the blessings we have received. Our Lady of the Lake University has accomplished a great deal over the last few years to grow and improve so that we can better serve your daughters and sons. Here is a review of the last five years of accomplishments at OLLU.

In the areas of enrollment and retention:
• Overall headcount enrollment is up four of the past five years (2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012) including an 8 percent increase this fall
• Retention of freshman to the sophomore year has increased from 53 percent to 60 percent
• Four-year graduation rate has increased 10 percent

In the areas of academic affairs, student life, and mission and ministry:
• Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmation of accreditation is nearing completion, including a decrease from 42 issues ten years ago to seven this year and launch of our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that produced Quality Education for Student Transformation (QuEST) for teaching writing and mathematics to first-year students, already called a “national model” by SACS’ site visit team
• After equalization this fall all faculty will be at or above the 90th percentile for institutions in our CUPA comparison group
• A program major revitalization process that produced four new programs, revitalized current programs, and a phase out of some majors while keeping and supporting their disciplines to build a stronger General Education curriculum for all students
• New, well positioned locations established for growth in the Rio Grande Valley and The Woodlands
• First Catholic university to offer a doctoral program in Rio Grande Valley
• Significant increase in student participation in mission and ministry activities including Mass and retreats
• Launch of HALO (Higher Achievement through Leadership Opportunities) program for all students
• New, sustainable programs launched, including cyber security master’s degree online, Master of Social Work online, and Alamo Colleges First Generation initiative
• Established 11 varsity Saints teams that are ranked on national levels and have a GPA slightly higher than rest of the student body

In the areas of fiscal affairs, advancement, and information technology:
• Dollars raised from individuals, alumni, foundations, and corporations are significantly up, including four seven-figure gifts unprecedented in OLLU history
• $30 million total was received to rebuild historic Main Building, which just received the highest honor bestowed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation
• $2.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education for complete renovation of science
and mathematics labs
• Creation of a $1.5 million Student Academic Success Center in Moye for advising, writing, and TRIO centers for all students
• The 24th Street beautification through a partnership with city and county
• Our budget has been balanced every year, we have low institutional debt, and enjoy an excellent credit rating
• Information Technology Services improvements included upgrading our Enterprise Resource Planning System, moving to a single sign-on IT system for students, and creation of the University Portal

In the areas of overall university direction and preparation for the future:
• Crystallization and articulation of Higher Education for a New America (HENA) initiative as central to the University’s relevance to both the students it attracts and to understanding the nation’s changing demographics
• Rankings by U.S. News and World Report, Washington Monthly, Hispanic Outlook,
and USA Today
• Articulation by the University community and affirmation by the Board of Trustees of Mission, Vision and Core Values statements
• Approved Strategic Plan that was inspired and written by the OLLU community, focuses on Growing, Graduating, and Leading; positions the University to be a key contributor to San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley, and The Woodlands; and most importantly aims to provide our students with an experience at one of the top Catholic Universities in the nation