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WKU President Timothy C. Caboni

Dear Colleagues,

We remain focused on our work to ensure that every student we enroll succeeds and ultimately graduates. We celebrate the beginning of our Hilltoppers’ college journey with us each fall and then celebrate their continuation on our Hill from semester to semester. The retention of our students illustrates the effectiveness of our strategic initiatives in enhancing student engagement; expanding support services; and deepening connections with peers, faculty and staff. Today, I am pleased to share with you the extraordinary rates at which our students returned from the fall 2023 semester:

  • An astounding 85.4% of our fall undergraduate degree-seeking students returned this spring, the highest percentage since WKU began tracking this data nearly a decade and a half ago.
  • 83.9% of our overall underrepresented minority population returned, the highest percentage since the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • Our first-time, first-year students returned at a rate of 91.6%, up from 91.1% a year ago. This represents a 5.3 percentage point increase since the 2017-2018 academic year and the highest returning percentage since the university began tracking this data in 2010.
  • First-time, first-year low-income students returned at a rate of 90%, an increase of nearly 5 percentage points since 2019.
  • 88.5% of first-time, first-year students who identified as first generation returned, an increase of 2 percentage points from last year and a 4.2 percentage point increase since 2019.
  • First-time, first-year students who participated in an LLC returned at a rate of 94.8%, compared to 90.4% among our non-LLC first-time, first-year students.

We strive to ensure that every student has access to the resources and support needed to succeed academically and across every area of university life. The WKU Family plays a significant role in those efforts. As a community, we recently had the opportunity to demonstrate those core values, even as we navigated a challenging situation for a group of our students. Thank you to our Housing and Residence Life team for acting swiftly to relocate our Hilltopper Hall students after the Student Life Foundation made the decision to move its residents. I also extend my appreciation to all those across campus who assisted with the details necessary to execute this housing transition. And to the 49 individuals – faculty, staff, students and community members – who volunteered to move our Hilltoppers’ belongings, I am thankful for your support of our students. While difficult issues can and will arise on campus, one thing is clear – the WKU Family selflessly cares for one another and engages in every opportunity to meaningfully demonstrate the WKU Spirit.

Finally, many of our Hilltoppers began their final semester with us last month. I hope that you plan to join me as we celebrate their accomplishments and welcome them to the WKU alumni family in May. This year, we will host our spring Commencement exercises on Thursday, May 2, with our College Recognition Ceremonies beginning at 8:00 a.m. the following day. You can find more information about our end-of-the-year celebrations here.

Thank you for all that you do to support our students and our mission of transforming lives.

Go Tops!


Timothy C. Caboni

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 Last Modified 2/13/24