21st Century UConn Adopted (Released: August 26, 2002)
By Karen Grava, Office of University Communications
STORRS, Conn. -- 21st Century UConn, the $1.3 billion program to continue the transformation of the University of Connecticut and its campuses, was approved on Aug. 13 by the General Assembly and will be signed into law by Gov. John G. Rowland at a ceremony at South Campus on Aug. 23.
The Legislature's enactment of the program, a continuation of the $1 billion UConn 2000 program, is unprecedented in the nation, and is an endorsement and recognition of UConn 2000's achievements and of the University's management of the UConn 2000 program.
"We are very grateful to the governor, who proposed this initiative, and to the General Assembly, whose leaders and members offered bi-partisan support," said President Philip E. Austin. "The adoption of 21st Century UConn represents a strong vote of confidence in the University and recognizes our success in managing the physical transformation of our campuses across the state.
"Back in 1995, many people regarded UConn 2000 as a calculated risk," he added. "But based on a strong record of achievement, the widespread perception this year has been that 21st Century UConn is a solid, safe investment."
Legislators also approved a provision that continues the state's matching gift program, a program that provides 50 cents for every $1 raised from private sources for the endowment. The matching gift program began originally as part of the UConn 2000 program and has since been renewed twice.
Austin said the governor and General Assembly chose to focus on long-term priorities, even as the state faces an economic downturn resulting in cuts to the state budget. The University's budget, including the Health Center, for this fiscal year has been reduced by $16.7 million, including fringe benefit costs, and represents a five percent cut for Storrs-based programs and a three percent cut at the Health Center.
"It's clear that despite the short-term challenges, the state is able to focus on long-term priorities and on the fact that the University contributes mightily to the economic future of our state and to the quality of life of our citizens, and provide tremendous educational value to increasing numbers of Connecticut's talented students."
UConn 2000 and its successor, 21st Century UConn, provide the means for the University to attract high-achieving and increasingly diverse students, high quality faculty, and funding from both private donors and grants. Before UConn 2000, Connecticut had the highest ratio of students leaving their home state for college; most never returned.
The University, ranked the top public university in New England by U.S. News & World Report, has seen incredible growth since the UConn 2000 legislation was adopted in 1995: freshmen enrollment is up 50 percent, and minority enrollment is up 60 percent. SAT scores have risen 40 points in the last five years. And this fall, there are 60 valedictorians and salutatorians enrolled in the freshman class.
Annual gifts to UConn have increased dramatically, from $8.2 million in 1994 to $50.6 million for 2001; and endowment assets have grown from $50 million to $209 million.
"UConn 2000 gave our university an opportunity almost unique among the nation's public higher education institutions to renew and rebuild, "Austin said. "21st Century UConn expands that opportunity and essentially provides the resources to finish the job."
The UConn 2000 program already has resulted in more than two dozen new buildings, including a new chemistry building, new ag-biotech buildings, School of Business, the Marine Sciences Building in Avery Point, the downtown Stamford campus, new music building, new residence halls including Hilltop Apartments, Hilltop Suites and South Campus and two new parking garages. There have also been renovations to Babbidge Library, the Wilbur Cross Building, the Gant Complex, the old chemistry building - now the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Building, Wood and Storrs Halls, the student recreation center, and many residence halls including Northwest, which has a new cafeteria, and Mansfield Apartments.
The new, expanded UConn Co-op, located on Hillside Road adjacent to the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, is scheduled to open in mid-September. The Biological Sciences Building, located on North Eagleville Road, is expected to be open in time for the spring semester. And a new building in the center of campus that will house several departments associated with computer engineering will open during the spring semester.
The Student Union, already under reconstruction, will be completed in 2004. Greek housing and North Campus Apartments will open next September. And a new pharmacy building will be constructed as well.
The program has also been responsible for millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements including a new steam plant, new chiller plants, and sprinklers for the residence halls.
Highlights of what 21st Century UConn will accomplish include:
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