We like to spend a lot of time here at William Woods talking about why we are unique as a university. But what we really love to do is to demonstrate that it is not just talk, and that we truly are an institution that sits apart from our higher education peers. And there was no better time to illustrate just how special The Woods is than during the first week of classes during this, our 148th year.
On Wednesday of last week, we staged an event the likes of which we have probably never seen before on our campus. In a picturesque setting overlooking Senior Lake, we joined the entire William Woods University community, members of our board of trustees, community leaders from Fulton, our local state legislators and most prominently, the leadership of the Missouri Army National Guard, for an announcement that amounted to a celebration. And another illustration of what makes our university the cutting edge institution it is.
The establishment of the Show-Me GOLD Program at William Woods ties us to the powerful, prestigious brand of the Missouri Army National Guard, and we could not be more honored. We are excited about what this mean for our enrollment, and the caliber of young men and women who will now be choosing to attend The Woods in the future thanks to this partnership, further enhancing our already quality student body. We are also pleased about our new role producing leaders to help meet the Guard’s need for commissioned officers. And to be honest, we are also exceptionally proud of ourselves as well, because this milestone puts us in some very impressive company.
Just think – of all the campuses in the state of Missouri hosting Show-Me GOLD, only one is a private institution, only one is our size and only one is located in all of central and northeast Missouri. That of course, would be WWU. All of these factors strongly reinforce that William Woods is unique, innovative, growing and yes, flourishing. We take bold action around here, whether it is adding graduate and online courses long before others were; adding new academic programs like Nursing and Cybersecurity in just the past year, or securing a prestigious new partnership with the National Guard, and it pays off. It is the William Woods way and has been now for more than 25 years.
It was no accident then that the very next day after we officially welcomed the Guard to our campus, we announced that our enrollment once again is up for a new year. Our total enrollment is now at 2,227, with particular strength in our evening and online programs. We are now up more than 300 percent in our total enrollment since 1990, and friends, that is no accident. It is because we have always been willing to be innovative, seek change and never stand still. And though we love to speak to that tradition, it has and always will be more than talk at William Woods.
So yes, our new year started with quite a bang. A loud bang from a unique institution that continues to make a lot of noise in the world of higher education.