Personal campus feels like home
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
The university is quickly becoming a bigger landmark on the map and filling I-35 with more and more cars, “bound for Belton” each year.
Going into the fall of 2010, Crusader grounds were swarming with 608 freshmen. Never in its 165 years of existence has UMHB had such a big incoming class … not until fall of 2011.
Bethany Chapman, the UMHB institutional research coordinator estimates that we can expect to see up to 630 new faces on campus. In the midst of both last-minute registrations and early withdrawals, it’s hard to put a definite number on these figures, but one thing is clear: the Cru are growing.
Chapman hopes that this year’s total student population will peak at around 3,100 students, a 4.9% increase in comparison to College Board’s reported total population of 2,956 students from 2010.
If this rate of increase were to continue at a steady pace, we could double our student body in 18 years, which speaks volumes considering that UMHB was founded in 1845 and has been around for 166 years.
With the creation of the Farris apartment complex, completed over the summer, 141 more students were given housing.
In addition, renovations have been made on previously existing buildings such as the summer-long overhaul that took place in Gettys.
The male dormitory looks like a completely different building from within.
Stribling got a lobby make-over for everyone to enjoy, and the Grounds Cru has made many efforts around campus to provide flowerbeds, new grass and overall campus improvement.
These changes made for the fall semester are just the beginning of many improvements to come, including our very own football stadium with the capacity of 10,000 spectators that is to be infused with a three-story student union building.
The essence of the university is the small-town Christian environment, where everyone knows your name and professors can provide individual attention. While growing in popularity and population, it is vital that we keep this campus the UMHB that drew us here.
Gary Lamm, associate vice president of enrollment management, said, “Although our student body is increasing in size, we also had 19 faculty positions approved for this fall. I believe we have been able to keep our student-teacher ratio to 13 students to every member of faculty.”
It is apparent that efforts are in play to ensure that individual attention will be available for students, but will the social atmosphere remain after such growth? If the student body can pass down tradition, faith and fellowship, it will succeed in retaining the UMHB feel and produce the best Christian students who exemplify the qualities of leadership, service, and faith-informed discernment.
The appeal of an intimate campus will continue to draw more students seeking a personalized education.