With May commencement just over a week away, the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved a list of more than 3,100 students set to graduate.
Trustees also discussed and voted on room and board rates for the 2017-18 fiscal year. With a 3.5 percent increase, CMU will continue among the most affordable universities in the state. Among Michigan's 15 public institutions, CMU has the 10th lowest room and board rate.
"Many factors were taken into consideration for this decision, including a market analysis and costs of food, supplies and equipment," said Barrie Wilkes, vice president for finance and administrative services. He also noted that starting this fall, students will have free access to residence hall laundry services.
While undergraduate and graduate tuition rates will not be set until June, the board did approve College of Medicine tuition for the 2017-18 academic year. Trustees approved a 1 percent increase for Michigan residents. Tuition for out-of-state medical school students did not change.
In other board action, trustees also approved changing the name of the department of communication disorders to the department of communication sciences and disorders.
Erin Strang, president and CEO of the CMU Research Corp., gave an update on the organization to the board. Strang noted successes of the business incubator, located in the Mount Pleasant SmartZone, including helping with the commercialization of 36 products and expansion of 59 companies to date.
During committee meetings Wednesday, the board received an update on the Center for Integrated Health Studies from Jonathan Webb, associate vice president for facilities management. The $26 million project will be 75 percent funded ($19.5 million) by the state.
The facility will be located directly west of the Health Professions Building. It will allow the expansion of high-demand programs such as physical therapy and physician assistant as well as creation of new health care programs.
Construction is expected to start next March and be completed in July 2019.
Board of Trustees Vice Chair Tricia Keith noted the importance of the project, particularly because of the high demand for graduates of CMU's health care programs.
"This creation is exactly in alignment with the direction we are headed as a university," Keith said.
Trustees are likely to vote on this 55,000-square-foot project in June.
President's report to the board
In his opening report to the board, CMU President George E. Ross briefly addressed CMU's 4 percent operating budget alignment of expenses to revenue.
"We're helping some members of our campus community navigate the evolution of higher education in the face of demographic changes and student, parent and employer demand," Ross said. "Yet, we will have a balanced budget, and CMU will remain a strong, major, national university, with progress that continues at a steady pace."
Ross also recognized several CMU students:
Electrical engineering major Katherine Kolar, who had an internship in Japan after her sophomore year, an internship at General Motors after her junior year and will start her job at GM on May 15, just after she graduates on May 6;
Graduate student Morgan Hummon for her work helping to gauge CMU's progress toward sustainability; and
The Trevino triplets, Katelyn, Cole and Case, all valedictorians of their class in Bath Township, who will attend CMU together in the fall.