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State of the University address provides campus updates

At President Crawford's 2023 State of the University address, he highlighted high application numbers, DEI efforts and research funding. He also introduced the university's new "Power of Will" campaign.
At President Crawford's 2023 State of the University address, he highlighted high application numbers, DEI efforts and research funding. He also introduced the university's new "Power of Will" campaign.

Editors Note: An earlier version of this story said Miami would achieve carbon neutrality by May 2024. This has been corrected to say Miami will complete its Climate Action Plan by that date, but won't be carbon neutral yet.

In his State of the University address for the spring 2023 semester, Miami University President Greg Crawford updated the Miami community on initiatives surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), sustainability and construction on campus.

The address, held in Hall Auditorium on Feb. 23, highlighted recent accomplishments by faculty, staff, students and alumni. 

Crawford began his address by providing details on student applications to the university for 2023. 

“Applications this year are at an all-time high. We have 35,000 applications plus, about 5,000 applications above the previous record years,” Crawford said. 

Along with total undergraduate application numbers, the number of applications from international students, minority students and first generation students increased as well. Crawford noted that although graduate student application numbers are down, the number of graduate students committing to Miami is up.

After recognizing the accomplishments of multiple students, faculty, staff, alumni and programs at Miami, Crawford turned his attention to research. He said research funding at Miami has doubled since 2017, when $15 million was invested in research. 

Miami raised $25 million for research in 2021 and $35 million in 2022. For 2023, the university has raised $24 million so far, with a goal of $37 million.

Crawford then discussed DEI at Miami and encouraged everyone to take the Campus Climate Survey. He specifically brought attention to initiatives from the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, as well as the Lived Experiences project, which chronicles the experiences of minority students and alumni in a website and documentary.

“We’re always practicing inclusive excellence at Miami University, pushing that forward,” Crawford said. “And what that means is that DEI is not the sole responsibility of one person or the chief diversity officer, but all of our responsibilities.”

Crawford also used his address to update the community on several construction projects Miami is working on. College@Elm, an interactive space for students to pursue entrepreneurship, officially opened last week. 

Construction on two current projects, the Clinical Health and Wellness building and the Richard McVey Data Science building, will finish in April and December, respectively. After that, Crawford said the university will begin working on renovating Bachelor Hall and the Center for Performing Arts.

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Next on the agenda was sustainability at Miami. Crawford outlined the university’s sustainability plan, which goes to 2050. He said Miami plans to continue converting to geothermal energy and move toward other forms of renewable energy, like solar and biogas. 

Miami will complete its current Climate Action Plan by May 2024, at which point it will share continued plans for reaching carbon neutrality. The sustainability committee is also working to increase sustainability education and improve Miami’s recycling and composting programs.

Miami was one of several universities to be invited by the White House to participate in a University Climate Action Network.

“We’re happy about that,” Crawford said. “They recognize what we were doing and the progress that we made in our own ecosystem.”

Before closing his presentation, Crawford talked about Miami’s Power of Will campaign, which was announced in October 2022. He said the university has raised about 60% of its $1 billion goal and plans to invest 84% of the amount raised into academics.

“Our donors are excited about Miami University,” Crawford said. “They love this place, and they show it with their passion and generosity.”

Abby Lamacchia, a senior marketing major, enjoyed how the presentation featured many accomplishments from students and others across all of Miami’s campuses.

“I really enjoyed just all the student accolades,” Lamacchia said. “I think those are things that I didn't even realize were happening as a student and so to learn what my peers are doing, the amazing accomplishments that they are taking on was just a really neat thing to have showcased.”

Kenzie Bryant, a graphic designer with University Communications and Marketing, echoed Lamacchia’s appreciation of the highlighted accomplishments.

“It's really exciting to see the Power of Will and see that campaign come to light,” Bryant said,  “and see all the great things that not only our faculty and staff are doing, but our students and alumni.”