Two hundred twenty-three new students — including 153 freshmen, 68 transfer and two re-admits — signed up for classes at Bluefield College this fall, compared to 161 total new students a year ago. According to President David Olive, the 38 percent increase in new student numbers is due in large part to leadership at the school.
“We give thanks for the sacrificial service of Dr. Robert Shippey for his leadership in helping us meet this goal,” aid Dr. Olive. “He has done a yeoman’s job and has given more to this institution than what is normally asked of an employee.”
The 223 total new students this fall is just two students shy of the school record set in the fall of 1995. During that era, under the leadership of President Roy A. Dobyns, BC enjoyed eight consecutive years of enrollment growth, beginning in 1988 and including the record 225 new students in 1995.
“Having achieved the second largest freshman class since the college became a four-year institution is a tremendous accomplishment for our administrative staff and faculty,” said Dr. Shippey. “I could not be more pleased.”
The 223 new students in 2011 is the highest number of new students to enroll at BC in a decade. The 2011 freshman class also represents 12 states and three countries.
“The administration’s commitment to growth and to new initiatives, like intercollegiate football and instrumental music, has allowed us to become the desired college of choice for more students than ever before,” said Mark Hipes director of traditional admissions. “The college’s continued focus on strengthening our top-ranked academic programs and dedication to improving and adding to our picturesque campus is another reason more students are choosing Bluefield College.”
Over the last year alone, Bluefield has added football to its intercollegiate athletic offerings and invested a quarter-million dollars into renovations to the school’s dining hall and Student Activities Center. Since 2010, the college also has been ranked among the Top 50 Colleges in the South by U.S. News and World Report, and its Teacher Education Program recognized nationally by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
In addition, two years ago the college constructed its first new residence hall since 1980, and in recent years the school has added instrumental music, forensic science, and graphic communications to its academic offerings.
“Our president, Dr. David Olive, often speaks of his passion for excellence in a Christ-centered institution,” said Dr. Shippey. “Our commitment to that excellence and to inquiry, civic responsibility, character, and wellness provides a balanced learning experience that is meeting the needs and aspirations of many and is resulting in the tremendous growth we are experiencing.”
As a result of these additions and improvements, not only are more students enrolling at Bluefield College, but more students are living on campus in BC residence halls. In fact, 320 students are housed on campus this fall, up from 280 in 2010 and the largest number of residential students in BC history.
“The college’s commitment to creating a vibrant campus community is leading to growth,” said Hipes. “The new residence hall, the recently renovated dining hall and student center, and other improvements have all contributed to an increasing desire of students to live on campus.”