We’ve been planning big at Nichols—as in launching our next five-year strategic plan. Based on the plan that just ended, I have a lot of confidence that our new strategic plan will take us to even greater heights.
Over the past five years, we’ve raised our admission standards twice while achieving a record enrollment this academic year. We’ve hired a dozen new faculty members, and launched the Institute for Women’s Leadership, which has accomplished much with our female students and gained widespread recognition in the process.
And we’ve surpassed our goals on the fiscal front, completing am ambitious fundraising campaign that’s doubled the Nichols endowment and the number of endowed scholarships. We raised $46.1 million, $1.1 million above our $45 million goal.
For a school our size, that’s a remarkable accomplishment, as is raising academic standards and expanding the student body in an era when the number of high school graduates is decreasing and competition for students has become fierce.
But all of these improvements are just a start, as we add new priorities in our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. While we’ve already developed a growing leadership program and curriculum, we’re aiming to make the leadership experience more complete. We now require an internship or another experiential component for every Nichols student. That’s no mean feat logistically, and it will expand the roles that our academic departments play in recognizing and realizing these powerful learning opportunities.
We will focus on new partnerships with high schools that range from honors programs to leadership training and community colleges through our Affordable Business Leadership Education (ABLE) agreements. And, we will expand the agreements in place for service members, international universities, and with local companies. We are also developing plans to increase the percentage of international students and underrepresented groups in the student body, faculty and staff.
And then there’s the matter of finances—it never goes away. We are hoping to extend the campaign and raise an additional $20 million, starting with a conditional commitment of $5 million from two members of our Board of Trustees. If we can secure partners to match them, we will set out to raise another $10 million. Our good fortune on this front only serves to energize our entire agenda.
Check back in five years. We think we’ll have a lot to show for time well spent.