“As we approach the beginning of this extraordinary academic year, this unprecedented academic year, I will suggest to each of you — and to myself — the same four recommendations that I gave to our Class of 2020 graduates,” said Nebraska Wesleyan University President Darrin Good. “Be positive, be persistent, be loving and use your voice.”
That was the advice shared with faculty and staff just prior to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, which began on August 17. The year started one week early in a hybrid model that allows students to attend most classes in person to best adhere to social distancing protocols. In-person classes will continue until November 23 when students will return home and finish the semester remotely.
In his State of the University Address, Good applauded the task forces that worked tirelessly for the past several months to prepare the campus for the return of students and in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe us being physically together as a campus community is an essential part of how we deliver this special, high-impact educational experience that creates our amazing alumni,” he said.
Despite an academic year like no other, Good celebrated continued momentum:
- A first-year class of 433 students. This class is among the most diverse at 17 percent; 20 percent of the first-year students are from out-of-state — the second highest percentage in university history.
- Sixty transfer students were welcomed to NWU. Of the 60 students, 31 percent are students of color; 11 are members of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society of two-year colleges whose students excel academically; and 22 are Pathways Scholarship students who transferred from a community college that partners with NWU through the Pathways Partnership.
- The university welcomed nine new full-time faculty in the political science, modern languages, nursing, education, art, theatre, math, chemistry and business departments.
- The first phase of the McDonald Theatre renovation is nearing completion. The first phase $1 million renovation includes new seating, a refurbished stage, new heating and cooling and upgraded sound and lighting. Phase one of the renovation was made possible by a grant from The Sunderland Foundation.
- In August, the athletics department announced a new home for the NWU tennis teams. Thanks to the generous support of alumni and friends of the university, the men’s and women’s tennis teams will practice and compete at the Lincoln Sports Foundation Complex, located in north Lincoln. The facility includes four outdoor courts as well as locker rooms and an enclosed viewing area for spectators.