'Jewel on the Thames'
The economy is a significant challenge, but the College continues to gather steam and move forward, President Lee Higdon told alumni at Reunion.
"With your help we will continue," Higdon said during his state-of-the-college address at Alumni Convocation. To attain its vision, the College needs to invest in people, programs, financial aid and facilities – and continue the conservative financial practices that have made it as well prepared as possible for the downturn, he said.
Higdon noted several examples of recent success: 13 Fulbright scholars in three years, a Rhodes finalist in the Class of 2007, and national recognition for international and environmental programs. The College has invested $20 million in the campus during the past three years, is nearing completion of a new $8 million fitness center, and is investing in new faculty positions and academic programming.
Ninety-seven percent of the senior class, he added, is supporting the College this year through the Annual Fund. "It shows what students think of Connecticut College," Higdon said.
Attendance at alumni events is up 35 percent, and the College has made a concerted effort to help classmates network with each other. The number of mentions of the College in the media has increased 30 percent. Admissions are strong this year, and transfers set a record.
A reputation for excellence is critical for this, Higdon said, adding that alumni can help. Students are looking to establish a long-term relationship with the College.
"What they want to know is, what kind of network are they joining," he said. "We want people to recognize the Connecticut College experience as one that is without equal."
Higdon encouraged alumni to take advantage of what the College offers and to spread the word to others – especially classmates who weren't able to be on campus for Reunion.
"We want them to connect back. We are stewards of your investment," Higdon said.