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Southwest Baptist University’s Board of Trustees met on Tuesday to view dorm and dining renovations, dedicate a new campus monument, and act on several important recommendations from the board’s executive committee. "This was a very productive gathering of our Board of Trustees," says Chairman of the Board, Dr. Eddie Bumpers, "Our board is very excited about Dr. Melson’s vision for SBU and the concrete steps we are taking to ensure a bright future for our beloved university. We believe SBU is well-positioned to experience enrollment growth, new programming, and more confidently pursue its mission to prepare students to be Christ-centered servant leaders for a global society."
After four years of decline, President Melson reported a 5.2% increase in new undergraduate student enrollment on SBU’s Bolivar campus in fall 2022. "While overall enrollment continues to track in a negative direction nationally, we are very pleased that we are up this year in new students. This change reflects the hard work we are doing to make SBU a deeply Christ-centered, high-quality, and affordable institution. Like similar institutions across the country, we are still facing declining enrollment in some of our programs — so we have lots of work yet to do. But we trust that this is the beginning of positive enrollment growth at SBU."
President Melson also shared his vision and initiatives for the 2022–2023 academic year and updated the Board on the progress of several ongoing projects at the University. In addition to receiving a clean 2021–2022 audit report, the Board of Trustees acted on a number of important recommendations, including approving 2023–2024 undergraduate tuition for the Bolivar campus, the launch of the planning process for a new five-year strategic plan, and several recommendations to better align SBU’s policies. The Board of Trustees also officially dedicated the Divine Servant sculpture on SBU’s Bolivar campus in honor of President Melson’s inauguration.
"I remain grateful for the support of the Board of Trustees and for their servant-hearted investment of time and energy for the good of SBU," Melson said. "I have been so encouraged by the way that our Board, leadership of the Missouri Baptist Convention, and our campus community have come together at this important time for our University. We believe that SBU’s best days are yet ahead."