A look back at 2016

2016 was another year of change and achievement for Winston-Salem State University. Here’s a look at the top 10 news stories of 2016.

10. Arts Accolades

WSSU students and faculty continued the tradition of fine and performing arts at the university.

  • In June, WSSU’s choir was selected by Walton Music to be featured in demos for a promotional CD.
  • In October, the Red Sea of Sound was invited to perform in the Honda Battle of the Bands, considered the Super Bowl of marching bands, on Jan. 28, 2017. This will be the band’s sixth appearance.
  • This fall, the Diggs Gallery, opened “Do You See Me” exhibit to strong reviews.
  • In October, Associate Professor Tony Artimisi was nominated for an Emmy Award.

9. Campus Enhancements

WSSU continued to focus on enhancing its campus. In August, the North Entry Bridge, access road and parking lot project was completed. The $3.4 million project, in addition to providing much needed parking, created a connector from facilities operations on Lowery Street to the main campus.

Also, during 2016, several long-planned projects moved closer to reality. In March, $50 million in funding was secured for a proposed sciences building when voters approved the Connect NC Bond. The award of the construction work is anticipated this spring. Also, design and bidding for a new residence hall was completed in late 2016, with demolition of Dillard Hall and relocation of underground utilities to start in January and construction expected to begin as early as March.

8. New Logo, Refreshed Brand

In August, Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson launched a new era with the unveiling of a new university logo. The new logo is rich with symbolism and reflects the university’s exciting vision for its future while paying homage to its legacy and history.

7. Strategic Plan

After months of planning, research and engagement with the entire university community, WSSU unveiled a new five-year strategic plan in January. The five-year plan has two board purposes: to advance the recent focus on the liberal arts to a more comprehensive liberal education approach and to build on the success of graduate and professional programs through key investments in signature areas.

6. Athletics Successes

Rams Athletics continued to excel on the field. WSSU claimed four CIAA titles in 2016 – football, cross country, softball and women’s indoor track and field. Also, Athletics Director Tonia Walker was named CIAA Athletics Director of the year in May.

5. Leading in Health Sciences

The School of Health Sciences (SOHS) continued to excel with programs and graduates.

  • In March, it was announced that master of occupational therapy graduates again had a 100 percent pass rate on the national board exam.
  • This fall, SOHS was selected to pilot an initiative to introduce a competency-based curriculum to increase the number of baccalaureate-level nurses in North Carolina.
  • This fall, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education ranked the SOHS no. 8 in the nation for graduating black students in health professions and no. 5 in the nation for black students in nursing.

4. Rankings and Accolades

WSSU’s high-quality education continued to receive national recognition. Here is a sampling of some of the rankings WSSU received in 2016:

  • U.S. News & World Report Top Regional Universities in the South
  • Washington Monthly’s Best Bang for the Buck Universities
  • Wall Street Journal (no. 1 HBCU in North Carolina)
  • CollegeNet Social Mobility Index (no. 12)
  • Top 10 Gold Level Military Friendly School

3. Growing Enrollment

In August, WSSU welcomed its largest incoming freshman class since 2008 with 950 new first-year students.

2. Leading Research

WSSU faculty continued to excel in research, attracting grants and with a number of grants and published studies. Grants and studies include:

  • $351,000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the risk factors of cardiovascular disease among African-American college students.
  • A $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish programs in the Department of Psychological Sciences.
  • A study that evaluated grip strength of millennials.
  • A partnership grant with Google to help bridge the technology divide for K-12 student.

1. Focus on Student Success

In 2016, WSSU launched a number of initiatives aimed at helping students succeed. Here are just a few examples:

  • Partnering with the Council on International Educational Exchange to provide passport application fees for 100 students.
  • Partnering with BB&T to offer a two-day leadership program for students.
  • Leading a nationwide initiative that aims to drive down the cost of college by improving degree efficiency.

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