My first year as dean of the Merrick School of Business was extraordinary, thanks in no small measure to the support and encouragement of alumni, students, faculty and staff. I have had the great honor of interacting regularly with our many graduates and friends. Their accomplishments are impressive and their generosity is inspiring. I am continually reminded that our UB education went well beyond learning facts and formulas; it paved the road for our unique journeys to success.
Academic year 2008-09 was a year of extraordinary accomplishments. Enrollments in the business school have grown to almost 2,200 students, as UB continues to outpace our sister universities in the University System of Maryland for its annual percentage growth in total enrollments. New programs have been added, including the region's only sustainable management program. Each of our academic offerings has been assessed and enhanced to ensure that they are delivering the knowledge, skills and competencies our students need for success in today's global marketplace. Our faculty have been active in research and scholarship, and we are now proud that almost one in 10 of our faculty are distinguished Fulbright Scholars.
Last year's achievements remind me that we have much to be thankful for and hopeful about. Of course, a struggling national economy presented us with unprecedented challenges. In short, we have not been sheltered from the economic volatility that has shaken both the public and private sectors. The fundamental fact, however, is that short-term setbacks need not have long-term consequences. As the school proceeds with its Uniquely UB: The Campaign for the University of Baltimore, we have the opportunity to exhibit the principles we hold true and to spread the word on what makes this business school unique: it provides a rigorous learning environment with a student focus and a commitment to our region, and it does it with a global perspective.
With your support for this campaign, the Merrick School of Business will establish new learning opportunities for students, support the regional business community through new programs and initiatives, develop the skills of future global leaders, and attract and retain outstanding scholars.
We continue to see progress in meeting our fundraising goals. Uniquely UB has now reached 71 percent toward our goal of $40 million. Within that goal, the Merrick School must raise $8 million. To date we have raised 65 percent toward that amount, driven primarily by those alumni and friends who helped us meet the France-Merrick Challenge which helped us raise a total of $1.5 million for building renovations, updates to the school's technology and interactive classrooms. In all, the France-Merrick Challenge helped to make this a first-class academic environment. Now, we are heading toward new vistas, new plans for the future.
We have $2.8 million left to raise in order to meet our campaign goal by December 2011. Our fundraising staff, led by Heather Marchese, director of development and external relations, is ramping up efforts to reach out to alumni and friends more aggressively, making sure they know that their gifts to the Merrick School have never meant more. The development team is also securing sponsorships for a number of Merrick School events, such as the 2010 UB Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards and the 2010-2011 Dean’s Speaker Series. Other key initiatives include raising funds for more scholarships to meritorious students, the creation of an Applied Finance and Technology Laboratory, the development of an Accounting Honors program, and an endowment for the Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center and the Merrick School's new Dean’s Speaker Series. These initiatives will set our graduates and faculty apart and further strengthen our position as Baltimore’s business school.
I am proud to be part of this effort and want to encourage you to be an active participant in preparing the next generation of UB business graduates. Learn how you can help at http://www.uniquelyub.org
Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D.
Dean, Merrick School of Business