LOGAN – Utah State University President Stan L. Albrecht spoke at the Cache Chamber of Commerce Third Tuesday luncheon. As members of the Cache Chamber of Commerce finished their lunch at the Coppermill Restaurant, Albrecht touched on topics ranging from the missionary age change impacting admission to the new buildings being built on Logan’s campus and across the state.
“We wouldn’t be what we are without the support of our host community and so all of you as business leaders, thank you for that,” said Albrecht at the start of his presentation.
Albrecht updated the Chamber of Commerce on the progress made academically at the University. He gave credit to USU’s teaching, adding that 12 professors gained national recognition by being named Carnegie Teaching Professors of the Year. “We like to emphasize that while we’re a research university, we also place a great deal of value on the quality of our teaching.”
Professors aren’t the only ones earning awards. Albrecht praised Briana Bowen, the first USU student awarded a Truman Scholarship since 1984. It’s also the first time a woman from USU has earned this scholarship.
Albrecht also discussed the concerns with more students leaving on LDS missions. “We lost 1,343 students in the first year. The revenue impact on that would be $13.3 million,” said Albrecht. “We went to work very aggressively. We were able to get the legislature to give us some relief by passing an out-of-state waiver bill that allows us to recruit more aggressively out of state.” He said because of this, they were able to reduce the number of lost students from close to 1,400 down to 500.
However, Albrecht said they must plan accordingly for when these students return from missions. “We’re going to have a very different student. We’ll have a more experienced, more mature freshman than we have right now. Also, we’ll have more married students before they’re finished because they’re starting college at an older age. So we’re looking at what’s the right balance between single-student housing and married-student housing, how this will impact social and recreational activities as well as student government.”
He then explained a few important research projects happening at USU. One project involves the study of spider silk and how the proteins may one day be used as artificial ligaments for people with injured knees or shoulders. He added that USU is now second in funding for aerospace engineering research to Johns Hopkins University.
Albrecht also pointed out the way students learn is changing. While the majority of students still come to Logan to attend classes, online classes are rapidly growing. At USU, 442 courses are available entirely online and one in five students take online classes. On top of that, 23 degrees are offered online.
Mayor Randy Watts will be the guest speaker at the next Third Tuesday Luncheon.