I'm pleased to report that we are now in the new 155,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory building located at the southeast corner of campus near the intersection of University Boulevard and Old Shell Road. The building, which houses both the College of Engineering and the School of Computer and Information Sciences, has been named Shelby Hall in honor of US Senator Richard Shelby and his wife, Dr. Annette Shelby, both long-time supporters of USA programs. Senator Shelby was instrumental in securing more that $40 million in federal funding for the project. Shelby Hall contains 63 laboratories, 17 classrooms, 3 large multimedia auditorium classrooms, 5 computer labs, 5 student study areas and 7 student design rooms, offices for faculty and staff, and much more. A "virtual tour" of the building can be found at the following web link: www.southalabama.edu/shelbyhall. The virtual tour is available by going to Floor Plans and Renderings.
Enrollment is up! Data for 2013-2014 for the College of Engineering, comparing fall semesters, shows an 80% increase in freshman enrollment over last year. For the same time period, the total dollar amount for engineering students receiving scholarships is $804,000, representing an increase of more than $51,000 over last year. Our engineering students are also better than ever. We have admitted 22 new students for fall 2013 who have ACT scores of 30 or higher.
Our faculty continues to strive for academic excellence. While there are many newsworthy events and activities to report, I want to take this opportunity to recognize Dr. Bret Webb for being selected for the Andy and Carol Denny National Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.
On the graduate education and research front, our faculty have significantly increased the level of research finding from competitive grants and contracts. The largest sources of these grants are the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, NASA, and the Federal Highway Administration. I am very proud of the accomplishments of our students and faculty this past year for their educational and research accomplishments.