JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University President, Dr. Brian Noland, delivered his State of the University address Friday morning.
The address lasted about an hour and touched on a variety of topics ranging from COVID-19 response to financial support and enrollment decline.
ETSU is just one of many schools that continued on with education as the community faced the brunt of the pandemic. While it was a tough year, it was also an inspiring one as the university accomplished goals it had never before.
“Our graduation rate is the highest in the history of the institution which shows the perseverance of our seniors to finish what they started,” Dr. Noland said. “But as a campus, we’ve got to ensure that this year’s freshmen class has an outstanding experience and returns next year and that we continue to grow the freshmen class so that we can recover from an enrollment perspective from the impacts of COVID.”
Friday morning, Dr. Noland let University staff, students and board know the school is in “solid shape.”
It was a rocky year in terms of COVID alterations, but one the student body and staff took on headfirst, accomplishing great things in a time of adversity.
With the university’s 110th anniversary coming up in just a few days, this address held extra significance.
“We were formed 110 years ago to provide access and opportunities to students from rural regions to realize the dream of college. That’s what we’re doing now, 110 years later, so as much as the institution has changed physically, our mission has remained unchanged,” said Noland.
SGA President Mason Mosier said this annual address not only provides a status update when it comes to campus but also transparency in regard to future plans.
“I think this is a gem that people don’t see and don’t realize just the magnificence of it. We’re appreciative that we continue to shine a spotlight on what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it,” said Mosier.
Dr. Noland touched on the declining rate of students choosing to go to college and said that his ongoing mission is to encourage students to pursue that secondary education and reach their full potential, something Mosier wholeheartedly agrees with.
“There are so many people that say a four-year college degree doesn’t make a difference, but for me, in my own life as a first-generation Tennessean, a first-generation college student, it’s made all the difference,” said Mosier.
Mosier said he feels students are being made a top priority and is proud to be an ETSU Buccaneer.
Dr. Noland also spoke on the status of renovations and construction on campus as well as hopes for future development on campus.
The full ‘State of the University’ address can be seen here.