With classes at its College of Pharmacy well under way on its new Fort Wayne campus and a huge new learning center on its North Manchester campus, Manchester University is embracing its largest enrollment since the Vietnam Era.
“We anticipate about 1,350 students when our numbers are finalized,” said Dave McFadden, executive vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy. Manchester achieved its strategic goal of 1,300 students last fall, comfortably filling residence halls and classrooms on its North Manchester campus.
Over the summer, faculty in 31 academic disciplines — from finance and history to education and entrepreneurship to languages and sociology — moved from 100-year-old space into the very accessible offices, tech-savvy classrooms and seminar rooms of the new Academic Center. (Manchester students got a new Science Center in 2005.)
The new professional doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program on the north Fort Wayne campus is driving the latest enrollment surge. Its first class of 64 students from 20 states inaugurated the lecture rooms and laboratories designed expressly for the College of Pharmacy in mid-August. The University also offers master’s degrees in education and athletic training, and international and online courses. On July 1, Manchester added University to its name to reflect its growing complexity.
The undergraduate program is riding an enrollment wave that began five years ago, when Manchester charted a course of affordable higher education with its Fast Forward three-year degree and Triple Guarantee of financial aid, a degree in four years and a job or grad school within six months of graduation. About 4 percent of the undergraduate students are enrolled in Fast Forward, which puts them into their careers a full year earlier.
Several weeks of orientation and activities precede MU classes, with opportunities to get comfortable with campus, activities and faculty especially for new, international, minority and transfer students. “The energy and enthusiasm of students and staff participating to welcome first-year students is unmatched,” said Janele Jacowski, director of Garver Hall.