News Item

Lander President Richard Cosentino Delivers State of the University Address

September 21, 2016

Speaking to a full audience of students, faculty, staff and community leaders, Lander University President Richard Cosentino delivered a detailed State of the University address filled with achievements during his first year in office and comprehensive plans for continuing the momentum.

“Lander is on an up,” Cosentino told the audience. “We’re doing well, and we’re going to continue to do well.”

A president who is a strong believer in data, Cosentino reflected upon the goals of putting together a plan for success, both for the university and its students. “We study everything. We designed a strategic plan that is actionable and measureable. The goal for our graduates is for them to either continue their education or launch their career – not to just get a job, but to begin a career. Our emphasis is on producing highly qualified and marketable students.”

Improvements in Enrollment and Ranking

The two goals Cosentino and his team took aim at during his first year in office were increasing enrollment and raising Lander’s ranking.

Significant improvement in those two areas alone are backed up by data.

When Cosentino began his term, enrollment had been dropping at an average rate of 92 students per year. The fall 2016 semester began, however, with one of the largest freshman classes in Lander history – the largest in six years – contributing to an overall increase of 2.5 percent in enrollment.

In the latest U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of colleges and universities, Lander vaulted from #44 to #19 in the Best Regional Colleges – South category and was ranked #66 among the top 100 baccalaureate colleges in the country by Washington Monthly magazine.

“When enrollment was trending downward, we did the opposite of what most colleges would do. Rather than cutting, we invested in recruitment, classroom technology, laboratories and the overall student experience,” said Cosentino.

Other Highlights from Dr. Cosentino’s First Year in Office

  • Following several years of increased tuition, it was lowered and locked in place for four years.
  • Fees were introduced for student services, technology, athletics, safety and security. Previously, these expenses were covered by tuition. Lander’s $500 set of fees is significantly less than the average $1,363 in fees for other schools in South Carolina. “We are a bargain and these dollars must be used exactly for these things,” said Cosentino.
  • The university will save approximately $1 million over 10 years thanks to a refinanced bond.
  • With an increased focus on out-of-state recruitment, Lander has established admissions offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla.

Areas of Focus for Next Year
To continue the momentum generated by his first year in office, President Cosentino shared plans for the coming year. They include:

  • An increased commitment to recruiting international students;
  • Solidification of an already strong Honors College;
  • More opportunities for fun and relaxation on campus for students, including a Bearcat Lounge designed by students, several ENO hammock villages throughout campus, bike rentals, a large fire pit and a Moe’s restaurant;
  • Strengthening Lander’s ROTC program;
  • Increased recruitment of military personnel and veterans so they can take advantage of the opportunities to continue or complete their education at Lander, which has earned “Yellow Ribbon” status;
  • The possible development of an MBA degree program;
  • The establishment of an Office of Internal Audit that will report directly to Lander’s Board of Trustees; and
  • The purchase of a trolley that will shuttle Lander students throughout the Greenwood community.

 State of the University

Lander President Richard Cosentino takes an audience of students, faculty, staff and community leaders through his Sept.19 State of the University Address.