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Engaged and Elevating

By Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D.

The arrival of the academic year at Seton Hall is always invigorating. That was especially true this year — the first since 2018-19 in which COVID-19 is not anticipated to play a major role. It was especially energizing to open a year that looks and feels much closer to normal.

Indeed, there are many reasons for hope, excitement and gratitude at your University. Making decisions rooted in strategy has enabled us to strengthen our foundations, enhance opportunities for students and faculty to thrive, and position Seton Hall for further success.

Central to our mission — at the heart of what we do — is enrolling the next generation of Great Minds. This year’s freshman class does not disappoint. In August, we welcomed 1,516 first-year students from
41 states and 21 countries who collectively represent the most-qualified and most-diverse class in Seton
Hall history.

While the population of college-age students in the Northeast may be shrinking, our extraordinary freshman class was selected from a talented and diverse group of 26,706 prospective students — our largest applicant pool ever.

Seton Hall’s success is proof positive that students desire the outstanding values-based education we have offered for 166 years. The applicants we selected are enriching our academic environment in new and exciting ways. To demonstrate our commitment to them, the University authorized $158 million in scholarships this year — a record level.

True to our mission, we increased the average award given to Pell-eligible students by more than 25 percent over the last four years, as part of our Affordability Agenda. This support leads students to enroll, persist and graduate ready to focus on their future — not on how to pay for their past.

Freshmen aren’t the only new faces on campus. We welcomed more than 40 full-time and tenure-track faculty members to strengthen the Academy — all of them dedicated to teaching, research and service. I was impressed (though not surprised) by their pedigrees, excitement and vitality. Already they have made themselves at home on our campuses and are making their mark on the University. Their arrival signifies the strategic reallocation of resources to teaching and learning, and the latest step in our emphasis on Seton Hall’s first-rate faculty, which continues to advance in eminence.

We are particularly pleased that four faculty members received prestigious Fulbright scholarships for the
2022-23 academic year, allowing them to pursue leading-edge academic work in Germany, North Macedonia, Scotland and Australia. Also, last year our faculty received $7.38 million in grants and other funding — an increase of 146 percent over 2021.

Building our capacity to elevate Seton Hall has been the primary focus of University Advancement, which finished its most successful fundraising year in history with more than $40 million in new gifts and pledges. This is a strong statement about the ties that bind our community across generations.

Even better, more than 40 percent of recent giving has been dedicated to the endowment, to help establish additional student scholarships, enhance faculty support and target new levels of academic innovation. Thankfully, our collective efforts are being recognized outside the University.

If you attended Seton Hall Weekend in October, you know the South Orange campus transformation
is well underway. And if you haven’t visited recently, you would be amazed at our progress. Most notably,
the University Center recently reopened after a top-to-bottom renovation that elevated it to a place among the most welcoming and functional campus centers at any college anywhere. I simply cannot express how much this project will improve life for our entire community. You really must see it for yourself.

Renovations and an addition to Boland Hall provided a fresh and updated living experience in one of our oldest residence halls. Meanwhile, the Office of International Programs is advancing the University’s global reach from its new home in Jubilee Hall. And Fahy Hall is replete with recently completed renovations, including classrooms, lecture halls, common areas and a leading-edge ultra-high definition digital television studio.

We also recently expanded our presence in Newark with a welcome and event center in the heart of the
city’s Gateway Complex — just steps away from the Prudential Center and Seton Hall Law.

In closing, let me express my gratitude and admiration for the many ways you foster excellence at the University. I hope you understand how much you are appreciated. So let us embrace the future with eager anticipation of the many opportunities it will bring. Thank you again.

May God continue to bless you and Seton Hall.

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