mary baldwin university reaping rewards from new strategies for boosting enrollment fundraising
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Mary Baldwin University reaping rewards from new strategies for boosting enrollment, fundraising

mary baldwin universityMary Baldwin University had received 400 deposits from prospective students as of May 1, surpassing its 2019 deposit goal by 23 percent.

This comes after seeing a 222 percent increase over the previous year’s enrollment numbers and welcoming its largest class in history in fall 2018.

MBU officials see the good news as confirmation that a new across-the-board collaborative strategy at MBU is working, boosting enrollment and online fundraising, and helping launch several new high-demand programs.

“Since the beginning of our current enrollment cycle, we have tracked better than we did a year ago, which was our record-breaking year,” said Matthew Munsey, director of undergraduate admissions at MBU. “We have fine-tuned our process, and are seeing the results. We’re set to again welcome not only the largest class, but also a cohort of academically prepared students who are ready to discover MBU’s distinctive programs, the vibrancy of this beautiful campus, and their own leadership potential.”

The turnaround, in large part, is due to the top-to-bottom change in the way MBU approaches strategic goals, including enrollment. Centralized in what used to be the president’s executive conference room, cross-departmental collaboration formed in “central command” is used to set and execute strategy involving everyone on campus, from the president and faculty to the grounds crew and communications team, all working together to improve the student experience.

The success has spilled over to other key areas of the university as well. Last week, MBU shattered its goal for Day to Lead the Way, its annual day of giving fundraising campaign. The university raised $219,354, surpassing its goal by more than $94,000. This comes in the wake of MBU’s largest-ever gift: a $25 million bequest from Mrs. Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46.

Meanwhile, the university in 2019 is also launching several new, high-demand degree programs, including five online degrees offered through its Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.

“We have changed the way we do business,” said MBU President Pamela R. Fox. “We now see MBU with fresh eyes and have found new ways to collaborate to recruit the best students, and make their experience the best it can be. With another year of record-breaking enrollment numbers, we are now seeing that this approach is sustainable and the right way forward.

Admissions officials have been tracking the positive numbers all spring. More students applied to MBU than ever before, visits to the Staunton campus were up, and more students deposited earlier. Additionally, MBU widened the student search, opening up new markets both in state and out of state; re-envisioned the visit day experience; and better explained the university’s specific offerings and student-centered mission to prospective students and their families.

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