Good News From The University of Akron


Today begins our 2017-18 academic year, and I want to share with you some very encouraging news about The University of Akron. 

Having spent the last week on campus engaging with new and returning students, I can tell you that the excitement here on campus is striking. The positive news and level of engagement have contributed to the enthusiasm.

More specifically, our continued focus on student success and excellence is already bearing fruit. New freshman enrollment for this fall is up at least 10% and possibly higher; we will know for sure in mid-September. Our residence halls are near 100% occupancy, and overall student retention is improving.

We also made strong initial progress on our finances last year and exceeded expectations and projections. Not only did we eliminate a projected $30 million budgetary shortfall, but we were also able to add $12 million to our savings account. This one-year surplus will help us address future anticipated shortfalls during the current or future fiscal years. This amazing progress resulted from our extraordinary efforts, growing optimism, fiscal conservatism, pragmatism, and several strokes of good fortune.

Nonetheless, our recovery work is not finished nor have we reached a resting point. We still face an uphill climb that includes another projected deficit this year. We will collectively double-down on our efforts to attract new students, and retain current students while controlling expenditures. On our end, we will also need to innovate, exercise creativity, and make various adjustments in the near future. We will continue to stabilize, invest, and grow. 

This fall we will begin the process of engaging all campus constituencies in a long-term strategic planning process to identify short-term and long-term measures critical for our success in today’s intensely competitive higher education environment. This involved process will enable us to make many critical decision and strengthen our foundation. 

Naturally, we could also really use your support of our efforts. Time and again, I am asked “How can I help?”by members of our extended University family.

  • Your financial support is always deeply appreciated by our students and our institution. We are especially grateful for future contributions to our Making A Difference Moving Forward scholarship campaign, which can literally make the difference between a student dropping out or continuing on to graduation. A scholarship donation can also help us in attracting quality students. 
  • Your presence at UA events sends a strong and resonating message of support to students and the greater community. It also assists the University financially and in various other ways. Please come cheer on our Zips in athletic competitions; enjoy a concert, show or art installation on campus; or participate in community engagement events like the Rethinking Race Forum in the winter. 
  • Your partnership in internships, co-operative education, other forms of experiential learning, or even long-term employment for our students. 
  • Your voice of support among friends, business and community colleagues and elected officials carries great weight and can contribute to our success in the coming year. Please continue to encourage others to pursue an education at UA, and spread a positive message about the University.

Our efforts combined with the assistance of our many supporters will help us remain on track and bolster ourselves for the future.

This is an outstanding University with excellent faculty, committed administrators and contract professionals, and incredible staff. We have wonderful students who come to us to pursue their dreams, and who help shape our futures. Providing students with a quality education and assisting them to graduation remain our top priorities. 

We are very excited to see our University on the upswing, and we are committed to maintaining and building upon our strong momentum. If you have any suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or 330-972-7869. 

Thank you again for your continuing support.


President's signatureMatthew J. Wilson
The University of Akron