AMHERST, N.Y. -- In his fall State of the College Address, Daemen College President Gary A. Olson emphasized the institution is strong and thriving amid remarkable progress and a growing national prominence.
“We have been on an exceptional upward trajectory for several years and have transitioned to a college of first-choice for many students,” said Olson at the address given on Nov. 8 before a capacity crowd. “As we move forward, we will become even better than we are now – more first-rate, more well-known, and more clearly a college of national distinction.”
Citing a number of institutional accomplishments, Olson highlighted new academic programs and partnerships, initiatives, and a number of recent national and regional designations the college has earned. He also praised faculty and staff for their many professional and scholarly achievements.
“As we continue to build on our strong academic reputation, one of the factors that has substantially contributed to the strength and vitality of our college has been our efforts to establish high-quality niche programs that are unique to our region,” said Olson. “These new programs and distinctive academic collaborations have greatly enhanced our competiveness and attractiveness to potential students.”
Olson also pointed to Daemen’s robust athletics program as one of the key areas to advancing the college’s student recruitment and retention efforts. As the only NCAA Division II institution in the region, Daemen has enrolled a record number of student-athletes, who make up 70 percent of the college’s international student population.
With these many successes, explained Olson, also come challenges faced by Daemen and other colleges and universities across the U.S.
“Colleges throughout the nation are dealing with demographic shifts that have decreased the number of traditional college-age students that will make it more difficult to maintain healthy enrollment numbers,” said Olson. “In addition, it is uncertain what the full impact will be on private colleges statewide due to New York’s free tuition program for students attending public institutions.”
Olson reported that Daemen has lost a number of students in the first year of the state’s free tuition program. He outlined several proactive measures to help ensure Daemen remains strong and viable both in the short- and long-term. Among these efforts are restructuring administrative offices to improve efficiency of college operations, enhancements in recruitment and retention, and several cost-saving measures.
“The strength and perseverance of Daemen will endure as we remain vigilant in our efforts to fulfill the vision of our founders and position our college for a successful future,” he said. “Together, we will ensure our college prospers and remains a leader in higher education.”
Olson concluded his address by announcing the successful public launch of “Drive to 75,” the college’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, noting it was kicked off “with substantial progress and energy. At the time the campaign was launched at our 70th Anniversary Gala, we had already reached an impressive 75 percent of our $22 million goal.”
A video of the entire Fall State of the College Address may be viewed online.