When people ask “What’s new,” it’s similar to “How are you?” You don’t really expect a very specific, detailed answer. But I dare you to ask what’s new at Lynn University this year. Go ahead, but be prepared for a rather lengthy answer. There is so much going on and so much that is new this year, that our president and fearless leader has dubbed this the BIG year.
The obvious BIG ticket items are the fact that we’re hosting the third and final presidential debate on Oct. 22, in case you’ve been living under a rock and didn’t know that. It is also our 50th anniversary. Both of those alone make it a landmark year.
But there is much more both behind-the-scenes and right in front of our eyes. And speaking of “out front” … We’ve got a new and vastly improved front entrance on Military Trail complete with 5 lanes (including a left-hand turn lane for all you frustrated right-hand turners), an official traffic light to be installed and working very soon, plus new signage and landscaping in a native plant-type style. And if you choose to come in the Potomac way – well, we’ve got a brand spanking new entrance west of the old entrance (which is still operational) and it will be ready for traffic flow starting Monday, Aug. 20.
And then there’s parking. Just that word usually has people ready to come out fighting. So, here’s the scoop. When you come in the west Potomac entrance, you’ll come upon a newly constructed temporary parking lot (which we’ll call the South lot for easy reference). Since the North lot will be closed until after the debate, this lot should be more than sufficient for our parking purposes. Though it’s a bit of a hike to your class or office, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot among the 900 spaces (almost double the North lot). While explaining the parking lot situation to one of my colleagues (and I’m not naming names here), he said, we should have a Disney-like tram running from the lot to campus. That would be convenient, but relatively speaking, we’re a pretty small campus and besides, the exercise is good for you. But our senior VP of administration did suggest keeping a change of shoes in the car, since those stiletto heels won’t hold up too well on the recycled asphalt material the lot is made of.
In addition to new entrances and parking lots, we of course have new programs, people and places.
Here are some that fall into the “new” category:
- Our colleges of business and hospitality have merged. According to our business dean, “there has always been overlap between the colleges because sound business practices are at the heart of the hospitality industry.”
- Lynn has created an innovative new business internship program to support and help prepare students in the College of Business and Management for a career in the business world.
- There is a new Center for Learning Abroad that will help expand our study abroad options and global offerings over the next few years, and it has a spiffy new office located right in the heart of campus, on the first floor of the Student Center.
- Our new Office of Spiritual and Religious Life is headed up by a New Jersey native who can tell you where to find a White Castle cheeseburger at 3 a.m. at the Jersey shore. He had 15 years in the film industry prior to his career in university ministry and teaching.
- And there are new staff members, old staff members in new offices and new staff members in old offices. All I know is that we’ve had to update our campus map several times in the last few months between the entrance, parking lots and office changes.
And in the midst of it all, we have started our major Going Green initiative, an energy efficiency program that is the largest single-phase university project of its kind in Florida. Most campus buildings will see multiple improvements and upgrades to produce the energy and savings guaranteed by the Siemens Building Technology performance contract.
And this just in (announced today, Aug. 20, by President Ross): Lynn received a $6 million gift toward the construction of the new home for Lynn’s College of Business and Management—the $12 million International Business Center.
Well, that’s enough for now. There is plenty more to come. All I know is that you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot about the “little school that no one ever heard of” this year.