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WMU's president sets student success goals in 2023's State of the University address

Montgomery is wearing a light gray suit and yellow and brown patterned tie. He smiles as though laughing while standing at a lectern with WMU's seal. Behind him are banners with the university's name and images from around campus. Several rows of people are visible in front of the lectern
Courtesy photo
Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University President Edward Montgomery delivers the State of the University address, Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Edward Montgomery also announced an effort to further experiential learning at the school.

Western Michigan University President Edward Montgomery says the school has improved its graduation rate. But in his annual "State of the University" speech Wednesday, Montgomery added that the school could do even more to improve its "student success" rate standing among Michigan public universities.

That rate — as measured by retention and graduation — was one of many topics Montgomery covered in the president's annual update to the campus community. Another was a grant program aimed at enhancing experiential learning at Western.

Graduation rates

In the address, Montgomery set a goal of achieving a 62 percent six-year graduation rate by the 2027-2028 school year.

"That goal will require us to improve at a steady average pace of 1.5 percentage points each year," Montgomery said. "But just last year, we improved by 2.7 percentage points. This is reachable."

Montgomery also set a longer-term goal: for Western to have the third-best six-year graduation and retention rates among public universities in Michigan by the end of the decade. Montgomery said right now Western’s in the middle range for student success.

He added that he wants to continue improving the graduation rates of underrepresented groups at Western. And he acknowledged that enrollment will remain a challenge given that Michigan has fewer students graduating from high school than it used to.

New grants

Montgomery also announced two new grant programs. He said the awards would help promote excellence in experiential learning and research at the school. Some of the grants will support established programs. Others are aimed at helping to launch new ones.

"I hope you’re as excited about these opportunities as I am. I can’t wait to hear your ideas," he said.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. She covered those topics and more in eight years of reporting for the Station, before becoming news director in 2022.
Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.