Editor's note: This report has been updated to correct scholarship information.
University of Texas at El Paso President Heather Wilson promised to bring even more success to the campus in the 2022 State of the University address.
"We will build on this," she said, citing the university's accomplishments.
In a nearly 30-minute speech last week, Wilson said the phrase kept echoing in her head as she reflected on the state of the university.
"There's tremendous momentum here. There's so many things that are going well in El Paso and for UTEP," Wilson said. "We're going to build on this. We're as good as we've ever been. And now we're just going to keep getting better."
Wilson highlighted the university's record fundraising efforts, increase in student engagement, record research activity and being a leading Hispanic-serving institution.
Here are four takeaways from Wilson's addresses:
Significant increase in fundraising efforts
UTEP has seen a near 50% increase in last year's fundraising efforts of $26.9 million to $38.9 million this year. This money will support scholarships, fellowships, facilities and faculty, a UTEP news release stated.
UTEP also received a $55 million endowment from the University of Texas regents to increase scholarships for students of modest means, Wilson said.
A total of 36% of undergraduate students had their tuition and other fees fully paid for this semester though a variety of grant and scholarship funds.
Also, 25 UTEP faculty and staff have the opportunity to donate $10,000 for future scholarships for students. Each gift will be matched by $15,000 by an anonymous donor, Wilson said.
UTEP a leading research, Hispanic-serving university
During the 2022 fiscal year, UTEP received 254 new awards that will support $117 million in externally funded research projects, Wilson said.
UTEP has contributed research in Hispanic health disparities, advanced manufacturing and water research.
"We are one of the top research universities in the country," Wilson said. "And certainly in the state of Texas."
Wilson noted the two major efforts that focus on serving the university's large Hispanic population.
The university initiated the Dr. Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Student Success and hired national thought leaders Anne-Marie Nunez and Jacob Fraire to lead the program, Wilson said.
Wilson highlighted the university's contributions of training and teaching health care professionals in El Paso.
In El Paso hospitals, 60% of nurses are UTEP graduates and 90% of undergraduates with bachelor's in nursing sciences stay in the region.
"We are training the healing hands in El Paso," Wilson said.
Increase in student engagement
UTEP has seen an increase in freshman students, celebrated its largest graduating class and is noting an increase in student engagement.
This fall UTEP saw its largest first-time college students in university history with approximately 3,600 students, a previous UTEP news release stated. The previous freshman record was set in fall 2019, when 3,400 freshmen enrolled.
This freshman student enrollment record comes after UTEP's largest graduating cohort with 3,126 spring and summer 2022 graduates in the university's history.
UTEP also has seen its largest graduating health care professionals class with 1,110 graduates.
Records in engagement throughout the university also were highlighted in Wilson's speech.
"Students are also getting involved on campus and reclaiming the connections and activities that were put on hold during the pandemic," Wilson said.
Over 1,700 students participated in at least one campus activity during the year, a 18% increase in student activity from before the pandemic.
"We are deeply committed to opening doors of opportunity to those who have historically been underserved by higher education," Wilson said.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: UTEP President Heather Wilson vows to build on university's successes