2018: A breakthrough year for WSSU
From viral videos to historic firsts, 2018 was a breakthrough year for Winston-Salem State University, its students, faculty and staff.
As 2018 draws to a close, let's take a look at what was new and noteworthy with WSSU News' annual top 10 list.
WSSU’s campus continued to be transformed through the opening of H. Douglas Covington Hall, a $24 million living/learning community for first-time freshman. The residence hall was one of two major construction projects on campus. Construction is continuing on the sciences building, a $53 million research building set to open in late 2019.
In June, architects unveiled a long-term vision for WSSU’s campus that proposes 1.35 million square feet of new construction. The year also closed out with news that WSSU’s football home since the 1940s, Bowman Gray Stadium, is receiving $9 million in improvements.
WSSU continues to emerge as a powerhouse in STEM-H research, with faculty receiving more than a dozen new grants. Among the highlights, $2.3 million in new National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, a record for the university, and a $2.4 million federal grant to support graduate programs.
The year was also a time to welcome new leaders to WSSU. Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson filled five key leadership positions at the university.
Over the summer, WSSU became one of the first occupational therapy (OT) programs in the nation to experiment with 3D technology in the curriculum. The School of Health Sciences (SOHS) also expanded its outreach to the community through the expansion of the Rams Know H.O.W. Mobile Unit, the only HBCU-based mobile clinic in the nation.
In August, Money Magazine named WSSU the top HBCU in North Carolina and no. 3 overall HBCU in its “Best Colleges for your Money 2018 rankings. This was one of a number national rankings and awards the university collected in 2018, including a national award for diversity, CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Innovator award and two national awards for STEM initiatives.
This fall WSSU reported its highest overall enrollment since 2014. A large factor in the increase is enrollment in graduate and professional programs.
WSSU received national buzz in May after a video of graduating drum majors Brandon Burgess and Trequan Holman showing their moves on stage at the 2018 Commencement went viral. Within days, the video had been viewed millions of times on social media and on TV programs across the country. The WSSU alumni were hailed on NBC’s “Today” as the viral stars of the week and featured on the syndicated show "Dish Nation." This video was just one of several viral videos that took Twitter by storm. Other examples: police officer Selena Ligons’ dance, an alumni homecoming engagement proposal, and a “Thriller” Halloween flash mob.