With the New Year just around the corner, UConn Today takes a look back at some highlights of 2015 in the first of a three-part series.
Building our future was a central theme of the year 2015, as UConn Nation welcomed thousands of outstanding new students, and the University continued to develop new infrastructure projects around the state in support of its mission and academic plan.
At the heart of the University are its students, and the UConn student body set records again this year. In February, the University announced a record number of applicants – more than 34,000 – then in August welcomed its largest-ever freshman class – a total of about 5,200 at all the campuses. More than 3,000 Storrs freshmen were captured visually in a class photo, the first in recent times. In September, UConn was again recognized among the nation’s top public universities, ranked No. 19 by U.S. News & World Report.
Nearly one-third of this year’s freshmen are from minority groups, making it one of the most ethnically diverse classes to join the University. But President Susan Herbst called for still greater efforts to embrace diversity and ‘make sure that UConn reflects the diversity of the nation.’ As part of the effort to keep the University affordable and accessible, new scholarships were announced this fall both for community college transfers and for students in the New Haven Promise program.
The University’s vision and goals are also being realized in bricks and mortar.
In May, construction began on a new urban campus in downtown Hartford. In June, the Campus Master Plan for Storrs was finalized, a strategic document that will help shape the physical development of UConn’s flagship campus over the next 20 years. September was a busy month for construction projects in Storrs, with a site selected for the new student recreation center, ground broken for the new Engineering and Science Building, and a topping-out ceremony for the new STEM Residence Hall. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Innovation Partnership Building, the first building in the new Technology Park, followed in October. And at the end of the year, a new road opened connecting Route 44 to the Storrs Campus, providing access to the site of Tech Park and easing congestion on Route 195.