To say our president is driven is an understatement. His resume demonstrates continued professional growth, starting as a biology instructor and quickly working his way up the ranks of higher education. By the time he was only 30 years old, he was serving in administrative roles.
Trine University president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., is a man who makes a daily impact on our university, our students, our community, our donors, and our faculty and staff.
Thanks to his vision, Trine University quite literally made a new name for itself as it entered the 21st century.
In the last decade, he recognized the need for Trine University to become a household name. For that to happen, we had to differentiate ourselves and let the world know about our highly respected and premier Allen School of Engineering & Technology, Ketner School of Business, Franks School of Education and Jannen School of Arts & Sciences. So, in 2008, we changed our name from Tri-State University to Trine University, revolutionizing our culture, but maintaining our heart.
When he came to Trine in 2000, he saw a campus that had made great strides, but was full of potential. He has told many a person that he saw only opportunities. He hit the ground running. He spearheaded a successful $90-million capital campaign, headed initiatives to revitalize campus, positively engaged the surrounding community, cultivated relationships with alumni and friends, and sought new opportunities for our students.
He recognized three important aspects to the college experience before many other institutions. First, we need to attract and retain quality students. We need to keep education affordable, and, finally, we need students to understand they will receive a return on their investment after graduating from Trine.
So far, the results have been more than measurable. They have been amazing. We have always recognized the need for quality students, and we continue to strive to find talented, hard-working students who can meet our rigorous academic standards. We have dedicated faculty members, most of whom have received their doctorates from top colleges in the country.
Shortly after coming to Trine, his wife, Melanie, was one of the founding members of the Black and White Scholarship Gala, which has raised over $1 million in its eight-year history. Those funds help students who might otherwise not be able to continue or finish their educations. Additionally, we give over $19 million per year in institutional aid. We do our best to help students secure various scholarships and financial aid because we recognize that a college degree will open doors in the future.
And they do open doors. Our numbers prove it. Our 2011 job-placement rate was 91 percent, with many of our majors experiencing a 100 percent graduation rate. Part of that high number is due, in part, to our career services office, which hosts an annual career fair and works annually with nearly 100 companies to coordinate on-campus interviews.
Part of attracting students of the 21st century meant making major changes on campus. Historic Sniff Hall was renovated and restored to become the C.W. Sponsel Administration Center. A footpath was transformed into the 76,000-square-foot Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center, which features a center for digital and online resources, library, bookstore, theatre, private dining area and cafeteria. The Fred Zollner Athletic Football Stadium opened in 2010, along with Jannen Sports Park and the Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Athletic and Recreation Center. He is working with community members to restore the former Angola Christian Church into the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts, which will house our new and growing music program. In 2011, the university purchased and saved a historical landmark, the former Lakeshore Depot, and renovated it to become The Depot Grill. The university consulted with area historians to help ensure the architectural integrity and history of the building.
That’s just the bricks and mortar. The rest of the transformation is nothing short of astounding. The university is now considered to be the fastest-growing private institution in Indiana, with enrollment increasing by 68 percent in just five years. In addition, our retention rate continues to rise. We are seeing an influx of applications, and admission is getting more competitive.
In addition to the Higher Learning Commission and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, our Franks School of Education and programs in the Ketner School of Business have been accredited. The Foundry Education Foundation now recognizes our cast metals program as being one of the top five in North America. In addition to a Master of Science in Engineering Technology, we offer a Master of Engineering degree, with majors in biomedical, civil and mechanical engineering; the Master of Science with a major in Criminal Justice; and the Master of Science in Leadership with multiple concentrations. These new programs enable the university to bring advanced offerings to a multitude of potential post-baccalaureate learners.
To expand our educational footprint, our School of Professional Studies (SPS) opened regional educational centers and branch campuses in Angola, Fort Wayne, Mishawaka, Schererville, Indianapolis, Columbus, Logansport, Warsaw and Sturgis, Mich. While select classes have been offered online throughout the decade, the launch of the Trine Virtual Campus in 2010 made a Trine education available around the world. We also are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer an array of SPS and graduate programs online. What’s more, this past decade saw the launch of Trine Middle College, providing dual-credit classes for high-achieving high school students prepared to start college early.
In the last decade we have experienced some of the most substantial changes than any other time in our 127-year history. And the changes will continue because of the vision of our administration, faculty, staff, trustees and community. We hope you’ll be a part of the change.