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University President Optimistic the School Will ‘Soar’ to Greater Heights

by Heather Berzak

University President Susan Cole’s annual opening address to staff and students was loaded with bouts of laughter, applause, performances and promises for greater things in the coming years at Montclair State University.

The school publicized its developed campaign called SOAR with the goal of raising a large amount of money in order to provide the university with the best resources and facilities possible.

Despite the program remaining private for its duration, SOAR has been able to raise $60 million dollars thus far with the ultimate goal of reaching $75 million.

In order to reach that goal, Montclair State is making the campaign public for the first time, hoping to get trust and faith from donors – presenting the crowd with the campaign’s official video.

Senior acting major Kira Player played a role in the campaign video for SOAR. With the campaign launching its public debut, she believes that the goal is easily attainable.

“[The university] is super, super close [to their campaign goal], and I think once this video reaches the public [the money]’ll flow in like nobody’s business,” Player said.

Cole mentioned that this year’s university application number was a record high of over 18,000 undergraduate applicants, a 15 percent increase from last year.

Another face in the video, senior acting major Liz Sayko, was excited to hear of the increased enrollment at the university.

“That’s awesome because if we are going to keep building up this campus and re-doing all the buildings, they need a lot more people coming in and I think that’s awesome that we’re growing,” Sayko said.

Cole said the incoming demographics this year include 3,100 freshmen students and 1,500 transfer students coming from 45 different states and 24 foreign countries.

The average campus GPA rose from a 3.24 to a 3.26, and the school is steadily increasing minority student enrollment compared to the previous academic year.

On behalf of construction, Mallory Hall is ready for use in the upcoming school year, officially named the Center for Computing and Information Science.

With completed projects come new ones, like the proposed renovation of Richardson Hall, starting with the second floor and making its way down to the first.

Current construction projects also include College Hall and sections of Calcia Hall, Russ Hall and Bohn Hall.

One of the newest additions in the fall is the development of University College. Through the help of advisers, students can discover different career and educational opportunities as they make the transition from undeclared to the major of their choice.

University College is temporarily located on the first floor of the Sprague Library until College Hall construction is completed.

Another new addition to the university is the Presidential Scholars Program. More than 300 incoming students were enrolled in the new program, each receiving $5,000 per year in scholarship money with options for additional aid if needed.

According to Cole, what makes the program’s debut so monumental is the fact that half of the recipients are minority students, with 78 percent of overall recipients being female.

With all of the records and new contributions to Montclair State in the past year, Cole gave 2018 its own special meaning for university students — in lieu of the university’s 110th anniversary.

“While 2018 may be the Year of the Dog on the Chinese calendar,” Cole said, “at Montclair State University, it is the Year of the Red Hawk or, in other words, the Year of the Student.”

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