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CBU Breaks Record For Largest Class In Its 143 Year History

CBU expects nearly 400 incoming freshmen and transfer students this fall, the largest class since it was founded in 1871. This number has already beaten the previous record of 355 admitted students in 1978.

President John Smarrelli and his staff are celebrating. “This has been an amazing recruiting season.  I’m very, very proud of how we have pulled together to make this happen, and I look forward to welcoming these wonderful young people into the CBU family when they start moving in next week.”

Many factors came together to create this milestone for the University, with deans, faculty members, and even President Smarrelli making personal phone calls to prospective students. “The entire campus community collaborated to reach this goal,” says Dr. Frank Buscher, Vice President for Academics and Student Life.  “I am particularly grateful to the CBU faculty who work tirelessly to ensure the success of each student. ”

Ben Keuter, a current incoming freshman said that CBU was a top pick for him because of its tradition, size and faculty-student interaction, but he was even more impressed with the student community.

“I think the biggest pull for me was the students themselves,” says Kueter. “They welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I had a potential new family. They readily accepted me into their circles and showed me the ropes of CBU. I am really excited for the independence and the lifelong friends that I know I will make.”

Dr. Anne Kenworthy, Vice President for Enrollment is pleased to see the efforts of the admissions and enrollment office bear fruit in the class of 2018. She described this class as something special. “I am thrilled to welcome this amazing Class of 2018! They will bring great energy to campus.”

The oldest university in Memphis, CBU has always been committed to serving the young people within the city and the region.  Almost 80% of CBU students are from within 300 miles of Memphis. “Clearly, the community-at-large acknowledges the great value of a CBU education by enrolling its daughters and sons here,” explains Dr. Buscher. “The university remains deeply committed to graduating individuals who will shape this region and its economy for years to come.”

Brother Dominic Ehrmantraut, Director of the Christian Brothers Community on campus, shares the excitement of the Brothers. “We are just so very pleased that our extraordinary history in this community continues to evolve. Our mission is alive and well in our faculty and in these incoming students.”

Over half of CBU students are minorities, and 41 different faiths are represented on campus. Building on the tradition of inclusion, CBU has formed relationships with Latino Memphis and the Memphis Leadership Foundation to bolster support for both the Hispanic community and urban community.  Latino Memphis will offer its Abriendo Puertas program at CBU, a program designed to help Latino students reach above and beyond their educational goals by providing mentoring and offering academic support to ensure success in college. The Memphis Leadership Foundation is coordinating an EXCEL program at CBU to support college students from urban communities.

For her part, Kenworthy says that the spike in enrollment can be attributed to the vision of the university’s future that is shared by faculty, staff, students, and alumni. “We have reinvigorated our student life activities. CBU is creating more opportunities for students to engage in projects and research in their fields, while at the same time offering more enriching and exciting activities outside of the classroom.”

Dr. Tim Doyle, Associate Vice President for Student Life, came to CBU a little over a year ago and set to work making some very positive changes to campus culture. Among those changes is a focus on residential life. “We’re so excited to have campus housing completely full at CBU,” says Doyle. “We will be housing the most students we have ever had on campus. Our newly renovated lounge in Maurelian Hall and the four-year old Living Learning Center will host our freshmen, who represent the energizing diversity of the mid-South and beyond.”

In anticipation of the large class, campus staff have been busy. The summer has been full of projects for those readying the dorms for the students. “I am truly excited and pleased to be welcoming this year’s incoming class. Residence Life has been working alongside Aramark and Maintenance throughout the entire summer to prepare for the arrival of this record class and to make campus feel like ‘home away from home,’ says Alton Wade, Director of Residence Life.

Additional programs have been added, campus renovations are underway, and faculty have responded to the increase in students by scheduling additional courses to meet the demand. “Since we are launching a ‘Freshman Experience’ program in a newly-designated first-year student building, we are able to meet individual student needs while securing them a place within a cohort,” says Doyle. We’ve got a full programming calendar for this community, and we’ve dubbed it ‘Maurelian Mondays’ in name of the newly renovated building lobby. With our closely connected Academic Advising and Student Life programs, we’re ready to build a successful cohort of future CBU alumni.”

The class of 2018 includes students from 18 states and 9 countries. The average high-school grade point average is 3.75, and the average ACT composite score is 24.4. Of these students, 56% intend to major in CBU’s STEM programs.

“There are so many of them, the sophomores better watch out! The freshmen are going to steal their parking places,” says Kenworthy.

Classes will resume for the fall academic semester August 25th.

For more information on the academic programs and services at CBU, visit or call (901) 321-3000.

Posted by Devon Wade at 3:34 PM