Special to the Banner-News
The Southern Arkansas University System Board of Trustees met in a regularly scheduled session on Thursday, September 7, at the SAU Tech campus in East Camden.
Board chair, Erica Woods, opened the meeting with greetings and the approval of the minutes from the last meeting.
Excitement over fall enrollment, significant campus improvements to academic spaces and residence halls, and a record number of graduates from the previous academic year were highlighted by Dr. Trey Berry, Southern Arkansas University president, in his update to the trustees.
Berry provided a positive enrollment update with anticipated record enrollment as he noted that census closure for official fall enrollment would occur at the day's end. He was able to share that SAU will report an increase in undergraduate enrollment, freshmen enrollment, and housing this fall. Not all can report these types of growth in a challenging enrollment environment. Berry indicated that a news release on Friday, September 8, will share all of the specific enrollment details. "It is a testament to the great army of people that we have at SAU."
As SAU continues to show great strides semester after semester in enrollment numbers, it is even more notable that SAU also reported record graduation numbers for the last academic year, with 1,956 total graduates.
Renovations to several buildings were the primary emphasis of summer projects on the SAU campus. Berry shared that Wilson Hall has undergone a complete interior renovation and furniture upgrades. Talley Hall received exterior and interior renovations with the assistance of an Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council grant. Tacos 4 Life opened in the Bruce Center this week as an additional food dining option. This is another excellent addition to the campus and community of Magnolia.
Lastly, Berry mentioned that construction bids for the new Student Athletic Academic Success Center will open today. This Center will serve the student-athletes with a facility that will support the students with study areas, computer labs, locker rooms, and more.
Gaye Manning, SAU Tech interim Chancellor, welcomed all board members and guests to the SAU Tech campus. Manning shared preliminary positive enrollment numbers for SAU Tech. Residential housing is at 90% occupancy for the fall. Manning also gave the Board updates on improvements that took place over the summer to various areas on campus. Michael Armstrong was introduced as the new SAU Tech chief financial officer by Manning.
In other business, Dr. David Lanoue, SAU's provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Valerie Wilson, SAU's vice chancellor for Academics and Planning, shared the 2021-22 Minority Recruitment and Retention reports for both institutions. After a brief executive session, the Board approved personnel changes.
The meeting was then adjourned.