In what can only be classified as a "State of the University" address, Fort Valley State President Larry E. Rivers summed up the university’s status Tuesday in just eight words.
“Fort Valley State University is solid and sound,” Rivers told a gathering that included state legislators at the Agricultural Technology Conference Center to hear an update on the university’s efforts.
This year, the university has much to tout. It broke a fall enrollment record of 3,024 students, set in 1996, with a new record of 3,055 students. That number also was a 19 percent increase over the 2,562 students who enrolled in fall 2007.
The president’s next goal is 5,000. To get that number, however, he said the college needs more money.
“I just need support and more state allocation for financial aid,” Rivers said.
In the past 30 months, the university has set out on a $110 million capital improvement plan. Ground was broken last month on the $16 million third phase of Wildcat Commons, the university’s newest dormitory.
Rivers said a fourth phase in the university’s housing plan is in the works. It would add more rooms to the Wildcat Commons as well as renovations on Huntington Hall, to be used for administrative offices, and Ohio Hall, to be used for living space.
During the presentation, Rivers asked for help from the state Legislature.
He pushed for diversity at his institution and asked the lawmakers to do so as well.
“Anyone, regardless of race, color or creed, has an opportunity to matriculate at Fort Valley State University,” Rivers said.
Rivers said he wants the university to be able to implement competitive programs such as nursing and a Department of Veterinary Medicine for large animals.
State Rep. David Lucas, D-Macon, said he has pursued getting such programs for the university before. He said they are vital in attracting the diversified student body that Rivers desires.