November 16, 2004 -- Posted 6:00 p.m. CDT
Jonesboro, AR -- Arkansas State University first began as a regional agricultural training school in 1909. Today, the institution has more than 53,000 alumni and 16,000 students, and it continues to look towards the future.
During a stakeholders luncheon on Tuesday afternoon, University President Les Wyatt touted ASU's most recent accomplishments with a call to action for continued growth.
"We don't sell stock like a publicly traded company, but each of you has a stake in our outcome," said Dr. Wyatt.
Wyatt is confident the future is bright at Arkansas State University. It's experiencing the highest graduation rates ever, and the greatest number of students produced in fields like teaching and nursing.
"We're seeing great success in what we're trying to do with these students," said Wyatt.
What does the University have to show for its current successes? Most of them are quite visible like the new student union.
"I guarantee that anyone that goes into this building over the age of 40 is invisible, you can walk around there with some immunity, the kids won't notice that you're there," said Wyatt.
Then there's the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, created as the major research component of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000.
'This is a place where we will be doing research on medicinal benefits that might be derived from plant materials," said Wyatt.
The University is also proud of a new pedestrian mall in the center of campus, the addition of parking spaces, and the construction of new apartment buildings; all visible progress shared with those who care for the University, the same people who may lend a voice to legislators in shaping future successes.
"I'm here to tell you that we're happy to be your neighbor and we want for you to think of this campus as your own," said Wyatt.