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Interim Lourdes president touts school's successes


Janet Robinson, interim president of Lourdes University, delivers the State of the University address at the Franciscan Center.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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Lourdes University Interim President Janet H. Robinson today used her State of the University address to tout the school's successes this past year and to outline new initiatives that will make it stronger in the coming year.

Ms. Robinson was particularly proud of the university's growing, diverse student body, with students from 17 states, Puerto Rico, and five countries. She said that this shows that Lourdes has gone beyond just northwest Ohio and is particularly significant because “it provides evidence” that the university is able to attract students from all over the world, she said.

A positive sign for continued growth is that there was a 32 percent increase this fall in new, first-year students, with the school now having 2,621 students, she said.

Ms. Robinson said the men's basketball and volleyball teams were standouts last year, adding that Lourdes students have “more opportunities than ever to be involved,” with more than 25 student organizations available.

She said the school has experienced tremendous growth in its graduate program and recently celebrated 10 years of graduate programming. There are now 340 graduate students in six programs this fall, which is up from 50 graduate students in only two programs when Lourdes first started offering advanced degrees.

The school continues to offer new programs and offerings, with the Center for Science Education and the Environment recently opened on campus, which will open up new concentrations for the university's environmental science major. The Center for Nursing was also opened, which was made possible through a competitive federal grant.

In addition, as part of a new initiative, Lourdes professors will offer the Master of Organizational Leadership program at Owens Community College. Additionally, a part-time Master of Business Administration program was also offered for the first time this year.

Lourdes University continues to grow its campus, with the number of residents in campus housing growing by 185 percent since student housing was first introduced two years ago.

Ms. Robinson said such expansion has led to challenges, with some residents protesting the approval of the plans to add buildings and parking to the campus. Sylvania City Council passed the project this summer. Ms. Robinson said moving forward with the plans will help “provide a dynamic, affordable education experience.” She said adding more amenities to the university will help also provide a “caring, compelling environment,” for students.

During the address today, Board of Trustees Chair Thomas B. Geiger Jr. said Lourdes has already started the process for the selection and hiring of the ninth president of the university. Former president Robert Helmer left this summer to work at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea. Mr.

Geiger said a presidential search committee has been gathered and that the formal search for candidates started this week. He said the campus Web site, www.lourdes.edu, will be updated with information on this search, when it becomes available. He added that he hopes the committee will be able to start welcoming finalists to campus at the end of Jan. 2013.

“We look forward to getting a new leader next year,” Ms. Robinson said.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-206-0356 or on Twitter at @MyTownSylvania.

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