Dear Faculty and Staff,
At the approximate midpoint of summer, I just wanted to touch base with brief words of thanks. Campus has been extremely active – indeed far busier with events and conferences than the previous few summers as we have emerged from the pandemic. Between the excited voices of Girls State, athletics camps, TAG and other events, there has been a healthy, youthful buzz. Thank you to everyone who has been hard at work keeping our visitors fed, safe and otherwise supported during their time here.
I know many of you remain hard at work on a range of important endeavors – including campus upkeep, helping us successfully close out the fiscal year this week, teaching and research, and preparing in various ways to welcome new Lancers just a few weeks from now. My fingers are crossed that our elected officials in Richmond are also hard at work delivering an updated and overdue state budget – and it does at least seem they are again deeply engaged in negotiations. But whatever the outcome, we have a University budget in place to start the fiscal year July 1 without any kind of interruption. We are well positioned for what will be an eventful upcoming year, with all the opportunities it will provide to shape for the better the lives of our students.
Lastly, I know many here and across higher education are paying close attention to the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected ruling this week regarding the use of affirmative action in college admissions. As far as any potential impact from the case is concerned, we will of course review any ruling carefully. But it has already been the case for many years that Longwood does not use racial preferences in our admissions process. Nonetheless, we have made significant strides in creating a more diverse community over the last decade. The proportion of our student body who are underrepresented minorities has increased from 19 percent in 2012 to about 29 percent currently. Our proportions of Pell-eligible and first-generation college students have also increased meaningfully.
However the Court rules, diversity is and will remain a core value of Longwood, reflected among our handful of highest institutional priorities in our University Strategic Plan. Among the many reasons this is important, it is educationally essential for all of our students to be part of a community where they will encounter a full range of backgrounds, identities, perspectives and viewpoints. I fully expect our progress on this front to continue, and I am committed to making sure it does.
Thank you again for all you do for Longwood as we prepare for the upcoming academic year.