|number of degrees awarded by the University has eclipsed 70,000. Dramatic increases in enrollment illustrate USA’s greatest contribution as the top provider of higher education in the upper Gulf Coast region.
Our academic programs provide a solid base to allow students to grow intellectually, economically, and socially. The recent addition of several new academic programs provides greater opportunities for students while improving the quality of health care, safety and economic well-being of the region. Some of them include new master’s degree programs in environmental toxicology and civil engineering with a focus on coastal design, and doctoral programs in audiology, physical therapy, nursing practice, combined clinical and counseling psychology, and pharmacy with Auburn University. USA is also home to the state’s only glass-blowing program, which features a new 5,000-square-foot facility located in the Visual Arts complex. Program offerings at USA’s Baldwin County Campus continue to expand, enhancing one of the state’s fastest-growing counties. We’re also proud of our Scholarship Program and the success of our Honors Program in recognizing and rewarding academically talented students. We are also excited about the recent completion of the Health Sciences Building, a $48 million facility that houses the College of Nursing and the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions. Additionally, the Shelby Hall Engineering and Computing Sciences Building will soon offer a new high-tech home to the College of Engineering and the School of Computing.
In addition to USA’s outstanding academic programs, our students enjoy a wide variety of social, cultural, entertainment and athletic activities that contribute to a well-rounded college experience. A new state-of-the-art, 116,000 square foot Student Recreation Center houses multi-purpose athletic courts, weight room, heated pools, spa, saunas and a rock climbing wall. The USA Mitchell Center is home to Jaguar basketball, concerts and a host of other exciting activities. A multi-million-dollar Intramural Field Complex provides students a wide range of activities, and student life at USA saw historic change with the recent addition of new football and marching band programs which debuted at USA’s inaugural football game in fall 2009. In support of the new athletic program, a 40,000-square-foot football field house and practice fields were recently added to USA’s growing campus.
Campus life at USA is enhanced by JagTran, a campus-wide transit system that makes campus travel more convenient and by Meisler Hall, a convenient, one-stop location that brings all student services together under one roof for easy access. The newly constructed Moulton Tower and Alumni Plaza provides a campus landmark and gathering place, and a beautiful new 20,000-square-foot campus dining facility is conveniently located adjacent to the residence halls.
Our students and faculty benefit from major renovations and expansion of the University Library, as well as from opportunities provided by USA’s Technology and Research Park. The new $75 million Mitchell Cancer Institute is putting USA at the forefront of medical research and treatment. Both the tech park and cancer institute contribute substantially to the $2 billion economic impact the University has each year on our community.
I invite you to learn more about USA through our Web site, or better yet, through a personal visit to our campus. The University of South Alabama experience is best defined by the people—students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends—who share a common enthusiasm as members of the USA family. I hope you will consider becoming a part of this family.