“This year Dr. Luis Proenza will be celebrating his 10th year as president of the University of Akron. In his time here he has managed to increase enrollment, produce record breaking donations and have numerous new buildings built. I don’t think that even in our wildest dreams 10 years ago could we have conceived that we have accomplished as much as we have, Proenza said.””
This year Dr. Luis Proenza will be celebrating his 10th year as president of the University of Akron.
In his time here he has managed to increase enrollment, produce record breaking donations and have numerous new buildings built.
I don’t think that even in our wildest dreams 10 years ago could we have conceived that we have accomplished as much as we have, Proenza said. I think we had hopes, but no one thought we would do this much.
The campus itself has transformed, something Proenza said everyone has noticed and commented on.
For many students at the university, navigating around constant construction has become the norm.
All of that construction has been a part of Proenza’s Landscape for Learning campaign. The stadium is a part of that plan and so were 12 other buildings that have been rebuilt on campus.
The new facilities have improved the university, but when can students expect to see an end to the construction?
As Proenza said, never.
I don’t see it as ever being finished, he said. The campus is a physical living structure. Physical in the sense of the grounds and the facilities and living in the sense of the people that populate it. Buildings and structures will always need to be replaced.
Proenza added that the administration has plans for the next 10 years.
The Landscape for Learning has been something some people have credited for the recent spike in enrollment.
As many students have realized by now, campus is a bit more crowded than in the past years.
This is due to the fact that enrollment has jumped up by 6.1 percent.
The jump in enrollment is something that Proenza has attributed to several different factors.
Landscape for Learning was designed to reverse the enrollment decline, Proenza said. He talked about early 1990s loss in enrollment, and upgrading their facilities attracted new students.
This improvement has made a huge difference in how all students feel about the campus.
Along with the Landscape for Learning, the University Park Alliance was formed.
The goal was to restore the area around the university to improve the university’s image. Some areas surrounding campus are fine, but others were not nearly as desirable.
About 6000 or 7000 students live in the immediate vicinity, Proenza said. If you go and look, some of it is fine, but some of it you probably wouldn’t want to live there. Many of the homes around the area were built in the 1950s and they were to only have a lifespan of 20 years or so.
He proceeded to say that by not tending to the immediate area surrounding the university, UA was only hurting itself.
With all the new students flooding the campus, the university has been hiring more professors to instruct the students.
The renovation helps UA in attracting more research funding and donations department, as evidenced by the past few years.
The University of Akron set record highs this year for fundraising. Since Proenza took over 10 years ago, fundraising for the university increased significantly. Proenza’s ultimate goal is to get $200 million for research funding. The reason this research is needed because students need to be informed.
You, as a student, need to know both how new knowledge is created and applied, Proenza said. The creation of new knowledge is created through research. The more research we can have on campus the more likely that you will have the ability to see how some of this is discovered.
According to Proenza, research not only helps the university’s reputation but that of its faculty and staff. In turn, this generates both national and international attention.
The newest addition that students are familiar with is the changes in the parking decks and the new Roo-Express shuttle available to students.
The Roo-Express appears to be a great hit, Proenza said.
I have no idea how the bar route came about, Proenza said. I think its very commensurate with the concept that the university is very much a part of the community.
The structure of parking on campus has changed this past year.
Proenza said that he is sure there will be more changes made in the future.
Parking is always an issue that continues, Proenza said. Every fall there are adjustments, especially to those that are new on campus. Everybody thinks that if there class is at 10 a.m. then they can arrive 10 minutes before their class and find a parking place.
This year was particularly stressful because we had made some other changes, Proenza said.
While the designations of commuter and resident lots was stressful for some, Proenza managed to reassure the student body that other plans are in fact starting to be looked at.
Plans to start construction on a new parking deck are set to begin in January.
Proenza’s vision has been to create a college town surrounding the university, and within the past 10 years, he has managed to make great headway towards that ultimate goal.