Late last year I announced my intention to retire, and I immediately received scores of emails and phone calls offering congratulations and well-wishes. This strong backing from the Mines community has been a constant throughout my years serving as president, and I’m grateful for that support and all it has allowed us to accomplish.
During my time here at Mines, our community has transformed not just our physical campus, but also our people. Positioning Mines to have the capacity to provide a world-class STEM education to more highly-qualified students is something I’m particularly proud of. At our May commencement ceremony, my 18th and last as president, we conferred 1,022 degrees. That’s quite a change from my first Mines spring commencement in 2007, when we conferred 535 degrees. In fact, our newest alumni those who graduated less than 10 years ago make up about 35% of our total living alumni. The world needs more scientists and engineers, and at Mines we’re doing our part to fulfill that need.
I have had the honor of leading this great institution for the past nine years, and working with and advocating for the next great generation of scientists and engineers has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I’ve always maintained that it’s the people that make Mines great, our distinguished faculty, our hard-working staff, our very talented students, our accomplished alumni, and loyal friends. Together we have not only moved Mines forward, but have also simultaneously built a solid foundation from which even greater things can be achieved.
I came to Mines after a 32-year career in the oil and gas business that took me around the globe. Today’s students come from and our alumni return to every point on the globe to learn and innovate together. We all found common opportunity here at Mines and built a worldwide alumni network of exceptional scientists, engineers, and leaders. That gives me great pride and great hope for our global future, and I hope it does you, too.
Now I leave Mines in the capable hands of Dr. Paul Johnson, but I say one last time to all you Orediggers at home and abroad: Don’t forget that you’re a helluva engineer!
Mines Achievements under President M.W. Scoggins
The nine-year tenure held by M. W. ‘Bill’ Scoggins, the 16th president of Colorado School of Mines, has been transformational for the university. According to Jim Spaanstra, chair of the Board of Trustees, ‘Through President Scoggins leadership, Mines reached remarkable levels of excellence, grew its global reputation, and strengthened its financial health despite periods of economic turbulence.’
Scoggins’ vision to establish an integrated residential campus experience for students not only transformed the physical campus, but also created programming and services necessary to compete for the nation’s top students. As a result, national demand for a Mines education has grown dramatically, with undergraduate applications increasing from 6,000 to more than 13,000, and non-resident students growing from 26 percent of the freshman class to 49 percent, the maximum allowed by Colorado statutes.
Other significant achievements include:
- The graduation rate for undergraduate students increased from 68 to 75 percent, and freshman retention rates increased from 84 to 94 percent.
- Doctoral degrees awarded have doubled since 2007, reaching an all-time high of 123 awarded during the 2014-15 academic year.
- Sponsored research volume exceeded $60 million in 2013 and is expected to do so again in 2015.
- Philanthropic donations broke records for three consecutive years, and the Mines endowment now stands at $271 million. The largest gift in Mines history, $27 million, was announced in 2014.
- The Colorado Scholars scholarship program was established, ensuring that a Mines education remains affordable for the brightest students in the state who have the greatest financial need.
- Financial resources were dedicated to increase faculty size. Since 2006, the faculty headcount at Mines grew by nearly 35 percent to 277, and funding has been secured to reach a total of 305 positions in the coming year. In addition, the number of donor-established faculty positions has increased from 23 to 35.
- More than $230 million has been invested in new buildings, facilities, and other capital improvements, transforming the campus’s physical infrastructure while ensuring the institution maintains a strong financial balance sheet.