The 10th president of Western Kentucky University, Dr. Timothy Caboni, is officially at the helm. Caboni was sworn in Friday by Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. during the quarterly meeting of the Board of Regents.
“Very few occasions are this special,” President Caboni said afterwards. “I look forward to continuing the remarkable trajectory WKU is on as we go forward and working with all of our stakeholders.”
The oath of office was also administered to new Regent George Nichols III of Potomac, Maryland. He was appointed to the Board by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin earlier this month.
In other business, the Board received an enrollment report from WKU's Vice President of Enrollment Management, Dr. Brian Meredith.
He said that WKU is seeing a slight rebound in the number of first-time students. Preliminary numbers for the fall semester show that the university has admitted about 1,100 more students over this time last year. Meredith said 59 percent of first-time students have already earned some college credit.
"It's a by-product of the success of the state's dual credit program and the push in high schools for AP credit," said Meredith. "They've had a little college experience in the classes, so I think they'll be comfortable and ready to rock and roll, which should long-term, feed our retention."
The number of first-time freshmen is up by 172 students over this time last year, but that number will likely change in the four weeks before the start of the fall semester. Dr. Meredith told Regents that the average ACT score of the incoming freshmen class is 23 compared to the state average of 20.
"Western Kentucky remains the highest right now of ACT receivers in the state of Kentucky," stated Meredith. "That's no small characteristic."
The average GPA for the incoming class is a 3.3.
First-time freshmen are coming from 23 states. While out-of-state recruitment is up, international enrollment is down, a scenario that’s playing out at schools across the country for geopolitical reasons.