Dear UAB Community and Friends,

I am delighted to announce that UAB has achieved record overall enrollment for our fourth consecutive year with 22,080 students, up from 21,923 last fall. This includes a freshman class that is our largest (2,346) and most academically prepared ever, with an average ACT of 25.6 and an average high school GPA of 3.78. Underrepresented students make up nearly 42% of our enrollment and 20.5% of our undergraduates are first-generation students (2,836). These talented, diverse and deserving students are attracted to our campus in increasing numbers by accessible educational opportunity, unrivaled research experiences and academic programs that equip them for successful 21st century careers. We enjoyed officially welcoming new students to campus at our annual First-Year Student Convocation a few weeks ago.

These students are also drawn to a campus that is among the most vibrant, state-of-the-art and sustainable in the nation. As part of our Campus Master Plan, we recently opened University Hall to accommodate the tremendous growth of our College of Arts and Sciences, and next week we will open our new ROTC training facility. We are renovating landmarks such as Volker Hall and building vital new facilities, such as our Technology Innovation Center (home to IT infrastructure and our research supercomputer) that we broke ground on last month, that will continue transforming our campus.

The faculty and staff working in these facilities are effectively mentoring and inspiring our students, conducting leading-edge research and scholarship, and earning highly competitive awards. It was a pleasure to recognize a number of faculty for their teaching, collaboration and service last week at our annual Faculty Awards Convocation, and next week some 350 more will be honored at our annual reception for faculty who are newly hired, promoted or tenured.

Our record-breaking enrollment underscores other historic strides we have made together over the past year, including being named Top Young U.S. University for a second consecutive year (and 12th globally) in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings; our highest-ever research awards of $527 million, with award increases in every school on campus, and being among only eight schools of medicine nationally to increase their NIH funding by more than $100 million over five years; treating more patients than ever, with over 1.7 million patient visits to UAB and our partner Children’s of Alabama; exceeding the $1 billion goal of the largest philanthropic effort in our university’s history, The Campaign for UAB, including our largest-ever gift of $30 million to name the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Athletics programs that are more competitive than ever. Please join us to cheer on Conference-USA champion Blazer Football this Saturday at Legion Field as we look to extend our home winning streak to 14.

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So we have much to celebrate in this fall of our 50th anniversary year and I look forward to highlighting further accomplishments — including progress on our Signature Core Curriculum and our Grand Challenge — at the annual State of the University Address on October 29, 10 a.m. at Hill University Center Alumni Auditorium. United behind collaboration, innovation, diversity and all of our shared values, we continue forging ahead in all areas of our mission — forging new knowledge, new treatments and technologies, and an even brighter future for UAB, Birmingham and the state of Alabama.

Thank you for partnership and support in this exciting new academic year.