CLEVELAND — Truett McConnell University recently celebrated the work anniversaries of several staff members. The most apparent sign of growth at the university, however, came on move-in day.
Approximately 300 students – and parents trying to hold in emotions until the ride home – took part in the event that included informational gatherings, assigning of dorm rooms, and the President’s Annual Barbecue on the front lawn. The incoming class brings TMU’s total enrollment to a projected 2,900 students for this fall semester. That number includes those in dual enrollment, undergraduate, and graduate programs.
“We are thrilled so many people have chosen the campus of TMU as their home,” said President Emir Caner. “We’re excited for what God has in store for their lives and the lifelong friends they are going to make.”
After receiving information on admissions, financial aid, and other administrative topics in the Nix Student Center, students began the move-in process. A second informational gathering took place in the afternoon.
Several local churches provided food, cold water, and assistance during the day.
The school anticipates the Class of 2022 to be the largest group of incoming freshmen since TMU began offering four-year-degrees.
Employees recognized for contributions
Truett McConnell also recently honored employees for their service to the university.
Connie Nunley, professor of English, received an award for 30 years of service. Those noted for serving 15 years included Jonathan Morris, director of Student Development; Michael Justus, dean of the Conrad Grebel School of The Hummanities and professor of History; and Janice Justus, associate professor of History.
Ten-year honorees included Gary Fangmann, associate professor of Business; Melissa Fortner, registrar; Vonda Henderson, reference librarian; and Walton Young, senior professor of English.
Ten years of growth
Caner joined those being recognized with his ten years leading the school. In that time advancements include:
- the Baptist Faith and Message becoming part of the faculty confession
- the Great Commission Minor being required for every baccalaureate graduate and supports TMU’s four pillars – to love the Lord, live His Word, love the Church, and love the lost
- development of the Creation Research Center and World Missions Center
- athletics transitioning into four-year programs and adding volleyball, lacrosse, wrestling, and men and women’s track and field. In addition, TMU has produced team championships in soccer and softball as well as several individual national qualifiers
- becoming a four-year university, which opened the door to graduate degrees
- increasing full-time faculty by 250 percent
- adding seven new buildings and nine schools
- establishing an online program that boasts four baccalaureate degrees and three graduate degrees
- increasing student enrollment from 400 to a projected 2,900 this fall.
Caner attributed the growth to the university’s biblically-centered mission.
“When you have a faculty centered around a confession of Faith, there is a draw to this place for people who desire the same,” he said. “We didn’t look at numbers, we were simply staying true to who we were and letting students decide if Truett McConnell is where they needed to be.
“That kind of freedom takes a lot of pressure off of our faculty and admissions staff to ‘sell’ the university.”
TMU Director of Marketing and Communications Valarie Reeves contributed to this story.