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Greetings Campus Community,

Good morning on this fine finals Friday at Oklahoma City University. We have had a wonderful and eventful fall semester, from finding a remarkable new home for our law school to expanding the Kramer School of Nursing to dominating academics and athletics.

I feel fortunate to have talented and dedicated faculty and staff who work to give our students the very best. Thank you all for your hard work! Here are just a few of the great things we have achieved this semester:

  • We were ranked No. 1 in Oklahoma and 39th out of 100 in the nation on Kiplinger's 2012-13 List of Best Value Private Colleges;
  • U.S. News and World Report ranked OCU in the top tier of master's level universities;
  • For the fifth consecutive year, the Chronicle of Higher Education named OCU a "Great College to Work For;"
  • Our Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move ahead with the purchase of the historic Central High School Building to establish a downtown campus for the OCU School of Law. This is a significant move for our university that will enhance our law school, tie us to Oklahoma City's momentum, create new opportunities for students, and expand programs by adding much-needed space on campus. We also held the investiture ceremony for Dean Valerie Couch. Dean Couch is the first woman and the first federal judge to move into the school's leadership role;
  • The physical expansion of our Kramer School of Nursing is in the final stages as we complete the facility's third floor. Kramer has broken its enrollment record every year since Fall 2002, with Fall 2011 seeing a 40 percent increase and Fall 2012 experiencing a growth of 12 percent. We have more than 500 students preparing for careers in nursing fields. We have raised more than $1.8 million toward our $2 million goal since April;
  • At the Meinders School of Business, we added Master of Science degrees in Energy Management and Energy Legal studies, and a B.S. degree in Software Engineering to address the emerging needs in the business world;
  • Re-introduced the OCU phonathon, targeting lapsed donors. Students made calls during the second week of October. The phonathon raised more than $9,000 in gifts;
  • Gifts and pledges for the 2011-2012 fiscal year total $10,829,711, which is a $2.5 million increase from fiscal year 2010-2011; and
  • Fall 2011 freshmen retention rates are up over 2010 by more than 6 percent and overall retention is among the highest ever at OCU.

I hope you will join Jan and me at our open house from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday in celebration of our faculty and staff. Festive Christmas refreshments will be served during the come-and-go reception at Wilson House.

I look forward to continued progress in the spring. I hope you have a restful break, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

WARNING: By popular lack of demand, Jan and I and the campus cats, Joullian and Zoe, have a Christmas blog coming your way later today.