Panther Club energizes student-athletes

President calls state of the college 'robust'

Sept. 16, 2014

There is a lot to celebrate these days at LaGrange College, said President Dan McAlexander during his annual State of the College address Sept. 11.

“Even after coming through one of the worst economies in years, this institution is robust and growing,” he said. “Every day, we are increasing our capacity to fulfill our mission of transforming lives.”

The college’s rising profile and reputation for student success have played major roles in the continued health of the institution.

“In December, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges voted to reaffirm our accreditation,” he said. “The on-site visiting committee was so impressed with our Quality Enhancement Plan, Global Engagement, that they recommended it be used as a model for other institutions.”

Also last year, the University Senate of the United Methodist Church came to campus for its regular review. The result of that visit prompted a call to Dr. McAlexander from the conference’s bishop.

“He wanted to tell me that in all of his years as a bishop, he has never read a more glowing report,” the president said. “He was excited about getting the news out about what LaGrange College is doing and how it lives out its relationship to the church.”

Other accolades this year have included honors from the National Research Center for College and University Admissions, which placed the college’s website at No. 26 out of 2,977 sites; and the regional  Telly Awards, where two of the institution’s television commercials were honored.

The college also is involved in several state and national organizations, working to raise awareness of independent higher education.

Student outcomes are playing a big part in the college’s growth, he said. Sharing stories of recent graduates who have gone on to prestigious doctoral programs, he noted that 75 percent of the college’s 2014 graduates had accepted a job, internship or graduate school offer before crossing the stage at commencement – compared to a national average of 50 percent one year after graduation.

Serving the community also is important, he said, noting the success of the Servant Scholars program that works with area nonprofit organizations to find ways to improve the quality of life for everyone in the city and county.

Going into its fifth year, the college’s 3D Journeys lecture and travel program has brought hundreds of community members to campus, where “our guests are exposed to the incredible expertise of our faculty,” he said.

The efforts of the past few years are paying off as LaGrange continues to make strides in enrollment. A final tally released Thursday showed that the institution is celebrating its third-largest freshman class and its third-highest number of new students (freshmen and transfers). The college also received its second-largest group of freshman applications this year.

Keeping tuition costs affordable is very important, he said.

“We are committed to keeping the costs down for our students, while we strive to do more with what we have.”

Through everything, the college’s focus continues to be on students.

“What matters is what they do as a result of the transformative experiences they have here,” he said. “And as we’ve seen, they are doing remarkable things.”

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