Exciting times at UM

When I began listing all the great things happening at the University of Montevallo, I ran out of space. These achievements should give you a flavor of the energy and enthusiasm of our amazing faculty, staff and students.

First, we recently learned that the university is ranked No. 2 in the South among master’s-level universities in the “Great Schools — Great Prices” category of the 2009 “America’s Best Colleges” edition of U.S. News & World Report. Only Loyola University in New Orleans ranked higher.

This past year, we experienced a 16 percent increase in total applications received by our Office of Admissions and a corresponding 6 percent increase in total acceptances. At the same time, we saw an increase in the high school GPA of students accepted to UM.

We are expanding our campus. In addition to adding an extension to the boardwalk at the Ebenezer Wetlands Ecological Preserve and completing the first phase of the James Wylie Shepherd Observatory, we broke ground on a new residence hall, the first at UM in more than 20 years.

The new residence hall, scheduled to open in the fall of 2009, will house 154 students in suite-style apartments.

For our sports fans, this is the first time in UM history that all four of our fall teams — cross country, women’s volleyball, men’s soccer, and women’s soccer — have earned post-season berths in the same season. In addition, our student-athletes have logged more than 600 hours of community service.

A delegation from Echizen, Japan, visited the City of Montevallo at the beginning of October to sign a new Sister City Agreement.

The University of Montevallo plays an important role in that relationship because of the strong ties that have developed between our Art Department faculty and the community of artists in Echizen.