President welcomes Bemidji State faculty and staff back to campus

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University President Dr. Jon E. Quistgaard today welcomed back the faculty and staff of the University for the start of the 2008-09 academic year with his traditional welcome back breakfast.

The President stated that Bemidji State would welcome students from 34 states and 40 countries to campus this fall, a diverse student population which will help the University pursue one of its three signature themes, global and multicultural understanding.

“This makes us a far richer University,” he said.

The President also shared early numbers which indicated the University’s residential life facilities would be operating at capacity this year, and that graduation rates and freshman retention rates were each up approximately four percent from last year.

The President also made mention of the University’s efforts to support environmental awareness and sustainability, pointing to the hiring of a sustainability coordinator and the passage of a student green fee as important milestones for the upcoming school year. He also spoke of a new boiler which was installed on campus over the summer, which will help improve the University’s energy efficiency.

“What a wonderful commitment our students are making,” Quistgaard said of the green fee.

In closing, the President spelled out five goals the University would be pursuing during the upcoming year:

• a focus on increased student retention

• continued efforts to integrate the University’s signature themes of environmental stewardship, civic engagement and global & multicultural understanding into all facets of University activities

• preparation for the Higher Learning Commission’s visit to campus in 2009, as the University pursues reaccreditation

• full implementation of the college reorganization

• final preparations for a major capital campaign, a large portion of which will be used to fund the University’s endowment