Just one year ago, Lourdes College celebrated some "firsts." We welcomed our first residential students and intercollegiate student athletes. Autumn 2011 is no different.

In August, we celebrated our first day as Lourdes University. This momentous day also saw us welcoming the members of our first baseball, women's basketball and men's volleyball teams. On the academic side, we welcomed our first MBA and nurse anesthesia students as they began their graduate studies.

The year ahead promises new experiences for the incoming freshmen and transferring class as well as our returning students. To strengthen our academic programs, Lourdes welcomes 13 new faculty members who will teach students who are pursuing their degrees in English, education, business, sociology, nursing, leadership and social work.

Faculty and staff will also be developing the First Year Experience Program that will assist our new incoming and transfer students next fall. Together, the Lourdes Community will cheer on our Gray Wolves teams and attend exciting baseball games at the new complex.

Most importantly, our academic and student support programs are being recognized and awarded through an increased number of scholarships and grants. These investments will not only benefit our students but the communities they will serve after graduation.

On behalf of the Lourdes Community, I invite you to come to campus often and enjoy all that our new university has to offer.

Robert C. Helmer, PhD, JD