FPU enrollment continues to increase in size, ability and diversity

Another large, academically strong and ethnically diverse freshman class is driving enrollment growth at Fresno Pacific University.

Total university enrollment is set at 2,049 after about two weeks of classes. Enrollment for Fresno Pacific College, the traditional undergraduate program, was 936, up from 905 at this time in 2001. Graduate enrollment was 858, and 255 students are registered in the Center for Degree Completion (CDC).

"The incoming class continues a well-established pattern of excellence set by previous classes," said Cary Templeton, associate dean of enrollment services.

College and graduate school figures are based on the 16-day census, which is considered official for the college but a "snapshot" for the graduate school and CDC, which have different academic schedules. CDC figures come from the center. Enrollment at this time in 2001 was 905 in the college, 868 in the graduate school and 165 in the CDC for a total of 1,938.

Not only is the incoming freshman class the largest in school history for the fifth year in a row, the average student grade-point average is 3.57, higher than the five-year average of 3.55. "Freshmen continue to distinguish themselves academically," Templeton said.

These students also represent a rich mix of ethnic backgrounds and church affiliations. "Almost 30 percent of our incoming class are students of color," Templeton said. "Another 5 percent are the sons and daughters of recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union who now live in the Western United States."

More than 30 denominations are represented in the class, including Mennonite Brethren, FPU's sponsoring church, at 17 percent of the total; Baptist, 17 percent; and Catholic, 12 percent. Some 19 percent of incoming students are from nondenominational churches. "We will learn from each other how Christ has worked and is working among us," Templeton said.

In all, new students come from the states of Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Colorado, as well as California. Countries represented among the new arrivals are Moldova, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Bulgaria, India, Brazil, Germany, Benin, Colombia, Italy, Congo, Canada and Japan.

Adding to the energy on campus is FPU's listing in U.S. News & World Report's 2002-2003 college guide. In addition to the overall rating on the second tier of western universities—master's category, the university also appears on the magazine's diversity list, a new feature this year.

U.S. Newsalso notes strong graduation and student retention rates. "If you look at the numbers that are reported for student success, we measure up with many universities in the first tier," said Stephen Varvis, dean of the college.

The facilities needed to support academic growth continue to come on line. AIMS Hall of Mathematics and Science opened this fall as planned and construction of the Steinert Campus Center is on schedule. A fine arts building is next on the strategic plan and options to expand housing are under discussion.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations