Brooks touts Trine’s strong position in State of the University

August 19, 2022

Despite the storm clouds surrounding higher education, the future remains bright for Trine University.

That was the message Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., presented to Trine faculty and staff at the university’s annual Fall Kickoff event on Aug. 16.

Welcomed by a standing ovation, Brooks took the podium in the Ryan Concert Hall of the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts for his final state-of-the-university address before his May 2023 retirement.

He told Trine employees that, “I think without doubt that this is the most exciting time in the 138-year history of this institution.”

“All of that’s happened by no accident, because of your commitment to what we do,” he said. “Your hard work and dedication has everything to do with all of our success.”

Among the highlights Brooks presented to those assembled were a more than 30% expected increase in student enrollment this fall compared to a year ago, on top of a 17% increase the prior year and an enrollment increase in the spring 2022 semester.

That growth and success has resulted in back-to-back record financial years at Trine, Brooks said, indicating that “we are well-positioned for another such year.”

‘But not here’

Trine’s success comes as many other higher education institutions are struggling financially due to enrollment declines and steep tuition discounts. Among the statistics Brooks cited were an 8% decline nationally in undergraduate enrollment since 2019. He also said 61% of Midwestern colleges have experienced enrollment drops during that time.

“Undergraduate enrollment fell 10% during COVID,” he noted, “but not here.”

Despite that backdrop, Brooks remains confident in the prospects for Trine University’s future.

“No one else in our footprint of higher education - or very, very few - are able to have the type of conversations that we’re able to have this morning. We’re clearly operating from a position of strength,” he said. “The worst thing we could do is nothing, and I know that’s not going to happen.”

In closing, he said there is no particular secret to Trine’s success. Rather, he asked, “Isn’t this what higher education ought to look like?”

“I thank all of you all for doing what you do,” he said. “We’re simply more responsive, we’re well-planned, and we work harder and smarter.”

Faculty, staff recognized

Following the address, the university presented awards for years of service and recognized three staff  members with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Performance: Ginny Hamilton, athletic scheduling coordinator; Rae Henderson, associate registrar; and Wendy Yagodinski, chair and assistant professor, Allen School of Engineering and Computing.

These employees were honored for five years of service: Lori Bailer, housekeeping and training manager; Brook Creager, supervisor, IT Help Desk; Ben Cullen, special teams coordinator, defensive line/recruiting coordinator, football; Teresa Davidson, administrative assistant, Jannen School of Arts and Sciences; Amanda Davis, assistant professor, Department of Exercise Science; Annie Derouin, Campus Safety; Martin Dygert, lecturer, Department of Mathematics; Nicholas Duffy, sports information director; Brandon Goepfrich, network and system administrator; Steven Gusa, ice tech 1; Kandee Heisler, lecturer, Department of Humanities and Communication; Rae Henderson, associate registrar; Jenson Jiang, lecturer, Ketner School of Business, director of Global Partnerships and Graduate School; Melissa Mayus, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Humanities and Communication; Angelia Niederhelman, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics; O’Shea Owens, director of alumni and parent relations; Brandon Podgorski, H. Phillip Conrad Chair, associate professor, Ketner School of Business; Thomas Pucci, adjunct professor, TrineOnline; Danielle Ruchgy, staff accountant and purchase card administrator; Jennifer Staude, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Science; Kendall Teichert, Ph.D., associate professor, Wade Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

These employees were honored for 10 years of service: Troy Abbs, head coach, football; Catherine Benson, director, golf management, dean and associate professor, Ketner School of Business; Shea Chambers, head coach, cheer and dance; Rodney Dunafin, maintenance; Timothy Jenkins, Ph.D., professor, Department of Design Engineering Technology; Amanda Malefyt, Ph.D., chair and associate professor, McKetta Department of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering; Jamie Norton, Title IX coordinator, assistant vice president, human resources; Andy Rang, assistant athletic director, head coach, women’s basketball; Eric Ravellette, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line, assistant head coach, football.

These employees were honored for 15 years of service: Megan Cook-Bermes, director of counseling services; Linda Cooper, assistant professor, Ketner School of Business; Julie Hoy, senior creative media specialist; Mark Kays, director, Department of Music; Tom Trusty, chair and associate professor, Department of Design Engineering Technology; Noah Warren, head coach, men’s and women’s golf; Wendy Yagodinski, chair and assistant professor, Allen School of Engineering and Computing.

These employees were honored for 20 years of service: Sherry Albright, custodian; William Barge, Ph.D., professor, Allen School of Engineering and Computing; Ginny Hamilton, athletic scheduling coordinator; Vicki Moravec, Ph.D., chair and professor, Department of Science; Mechelle Snyder-Bruns, administrative assistant, Franks School of Education; Joe Thompson II, laboratory manager and instructor, Wade Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Richard Spurgeon, supervisor, plant operations, maintenance; Renee VanWagner, library information services associate.

Last Updated: 08/19/2022

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