To Our Alumni and Friends,
As I look back over the 2017-18 academic year at Neumann University, my first as president, I see the continued strength of the Franciscan tradition, which has inspired this great institution for 53 years. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and the presidents who built the university have created an unmatched legacy of leadership that will propel Neumann to achieve its Catholic mission in the Franciscan tradition -- to teach young women and men that knowledge, while valuable in itself, is best used in the service of others.
In keeping with our tradition, the campus theme for the year ahead is stewardship, one of our core RISES values (reverence, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship). To that end, we are publishing this annual report online to be good stewards of the environment and our financial resources.
In this publication, you will see the impact of your generosity through the eyes of three students (Olivia, Andrew and Gabriela), who depend upon and are grateful for your support. You will also learn about the substantial progress we have made in the last year: increased enrollment, student achievement, new academic programs, improved technology, and facilities expansion.
Of course, we have also included the financial overview of 2017-18, the summary of our revenues and expenditures. We are pleased to share that, because of our commitment to fiscal responsibility, we achieved a balanced budget last year as we have for so many years in Neumann's history.
I invite you to explore the many segments of this report and to experience the very real impact that your support has had on the university and on the lives of those who live and learn here every day.
Dr. Chris Everett Domes
Maintaining student enrollment has been difficult for colleges in many parts of America during the last several years. Overall college enrollment in the U.S. declined for the sixth straight year in 2017 with institutions in the Midwest and Northeast being hit the hardest. Private colleges and universities are feeling the most pressure with more than two-thirds not meeting their enrollment or revenue goals in 2016.
Despite the national trend of declining enrollment, Neumann enrolled 421 first-year students this fall, an increase of 17% over its 2017 class of 360 first-year students. Dr. Chris Domes, Neumann’s president who arrived on campus just one year ago in July 2017, directed Neumann’s recruitment strategy that generated the significant increase. Dr. Domes has a background in higher education enrollment management and admissions.
Our new Health Sciences Center, built during the 2017-18 year, is set to open in January. An extension of the Rocco Abessinio Building, the Center will add approximately 17,000 square feet of instruction and lab space to accommodate projected growth in the doctoral program in Physical Therapy, the new master’s degree in Athletic Training, and undergraduate programs in Nursing and the Health Sciences.
Key components of the project are:
“With one out of every four jobs that were created last year coming from the healthcare sector, Neumann University is positioning itself to be a center for healthcare careers at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Dr. Lawrence DiPaolo, vice president for academic affairs.
The additional space provided by the Center will facilitate the education of nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and exercise and nutrition specialists, preparing young men and women to serve in the health care professions in the Tri-State area.
Prospective students on both the undergraduate and graduate levels will have more choices at Neumann, thanks to the hard work done by our faculty in 2017-18. New programs already available include:
Coming in the fall of 2019 are:
Neumann students continued to excel in 2017-18:
Thanks to Sodexo Campus Services, students now have a completely new dining hall in the Bruder Life Center. The entrance from the parking lot is now flanked with glass walls, providing an open view into the dining area and the McNichol Room. Seven different seating styles have been incorporated into the space, including booths that are the first to fill at any meal.
Two new ordering kiosks and a 24-square-foot cooking station reduce lines and wait times for getting meals while new pizza and rotisserie ovens improve the efficiency of food preparation.
Decorative glass, brightly colored banners, and a variety of lighting fixtures give the dining hall a warm and attractive ambiance. Several 4K LED television screens add a restaurant-like touch to the area.
Upon his arrival, Dr. Chris Domes made website redesign a priority. Less than a year later, in early June of 2018, Neumann launched a new site, designed by Direct Development, a company based in Virginia. With the input from focus groups of 17-year-old high school students, the site design is clean, interactive and mobile-friendly.
Approximately 100 of the website’s 800 pages have been migrated to the new design, and HubSpot, the new platform, offers opportunities to improve search engine optimization and closely monitor user traffic.
Improvements to the Rocco Abessinio Building (RAB) began after graduation to coincide with the necessary connections to the new Health Sciences Center.
On the first floor, the lobby was refreshed and the circular opening to the second floor removed. Behind the reception desk, the existing classroom space was reconfigured into a 60-seat computer classroom and traditional instructional space with 28 seats.
The second floor features a large lounge area and a self-serve food and drink space behind attractive glass partitions. The Canticle Room was expanded to accommodate 64 students, and a seminar room converted into an office for Adult and Graduate Admissions.
Students exiting the elevators for Business classes on the third floor will now be greeted by a wall of glass, behind which is the new Data Analytics Center with pods of computers for 24-30 students. A Stock Exchange-like ticker will be added during the fall semester.
Fresh paint and new carpeting give the first three floors a fresh appearance. Access to the Health Sciences Center is available from the second and third floors.
Andrew Pham will graduate in May as Neumann Knight, but he didn’t start out as one. Pham began his college career at the University of Pittsburgh as a computer science major, but during his freshman year, he learned it wasn’t the right fit for him.
“I had first met Andrew when I assisted with the theatre program at Cardinal O’Hara. He was a student, and I was an alum who could help run audio for the shows while mentoring him,” said Sean McDonald, director of Neumann Media.
“Fast forward to the summer after his first year at Pitt, and I find out that Andrew really wanted to pursue something more creative, in the communications/video production field. A mutual friend reconnected us. Andrew came to meet me a month before the Mullen Communication Center opened, and the rest is history,” adds McDonald.
“Media services had always been a hobby of mine, I always enjoyed helping friends with their media service needs,” said Pham. “After I met up with Sean, I fell in love with Neumann and made the last minute decision to transfer and am happy I did.”
The communications digital media major and Upper Darby native is the recipient of the Mother Francis Bachmann, OSF Scholarship. He has been fortunate enough to receive it each year he has been enrolled at Neumann.
Although Pham was initially attracted to Neumann because of its state-of-the-art Mullen Communication Center, it was the impact of the Mother Francis Bachmann, OSF scholarship that provided the reality of being able to afford the Neumann education. “Without the scholarship, I would have struggled to pay tuition,” said Pham.
“My mom works at Temple and tuition there would have been heavily discounted, but I wanted to come to Neumann and the scholarship enabled me to do so,” he adds.
In addition to majoring in communications digital media, Pham is also involved with Neumann Media, the award winning, nationally and internationally recognized student-run media hub at Neumann. It is comprised of four parts: 98.5 WNUW, NeuTube TV, Neumann Sports Network, and NeuPress.
“I’m the video guy,” said Pham. He shoots and directs videos and serves as a mentor to underclassmen in the club.
“I recognized quickly how talented Andrew was. Over the course of the last 3 years, I’ve seen Andrew break out of his shell, begin to have more confidence in his work, and really let his creativity shine. Neumann Media isn’t just successful because we have great technology and facilities. We’re successful because students like Andrew put their heart and soul into what they do. Younger students see that passion, and want to be a part of it,” adds McDonald.v
Pham credits Neumann Media for the opportunities to get involved on and off campus and to meet people which have led to job opportunities. “Working at (The Preston and Steve) Campout for Hunger was the best experience. It was better than an interview. I wouldn’t have had that experience if I wasn’t at Neumann.”
Speaking of opportunities, this past summer, Pham had three jobs as a result of the connections he’s made while at Neumann. He worked as a lighting designer at The Queen Wilmington, a music venue run by Live Nation, a national events promoter and venue operator. He worked as a lighting technician at Main Line Industries, a stage-lighting rental company, also based in Wilmington. And finally, he worked as a freelance videographer for the Beasley Media Group in Bala Cynwyd, PA, which own popular local radio stations, 102.9 WMGK, 93.3 WMMR, MIX 99.5, and WJBR.
“Being at Neumann is the only reason why I have had so many opportunities,” said Pham, “And my scholarship is a huge part of why I’m at Neumann.”
The Mother Francis Bachmann, OSF Scholarship is awarded to a student who has successfully completed his/her freshman year with a minimal GPA of 2.50, embodies the values and mission of Neumann University, and has verified financial need. Recipients are required to submit an essay on how the Franciscan values at Neumann impact his/her life and to provide a reasonable amount of service hours to the University as directed by the office of Mission and Ministry.
“I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I love it here!” exclaims Olivia Gilbertson, a senior nursing major with a Spanish minor who is also in the Honors program at Neumann University. “Neumann is such a little hidden gem!”
Olivia was able to reveal the Neumann treasure, however, thanks to her Grammy who knew then President Dr. Rosalie Mirenda through her membership in Legatus, and who suggested that she visit since Olivia was interested in nursing, a program for which Neumann has an excellent reputation.
“My mom works in health care and I’ve always known that I wanted to do something in health care. It’s really hands on. I just love talking to people, helping people and making them feel better. That’s why I wanted to be a nurse.”
Having attended Catholic school her entire life, she knew she would choose a Catholic college. She toured some big schools, but then visited Neumann. “When I came to Neumann and stepped onto campus, I immediately knew this was the place for me. I thought the nursing labs were amazing, and that I would get good clinical opportunities here since it is so close to Philly and Delaware.”
Choosing a private school concerned Olivia. “I was so worried about being able to pay for it.” However, financial aid in the form of the John McShain Scholarship came to the rescue. This endowed scholarship is awarded to an incoming freshman for four years provided the student remains full-time and maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA. “Getting the scholarship was the extra push I needed to feel comfortable in choosing Neumann. I don’t think that I’d be here if I hadn’t received the scholarship.”
Olivia wasted no time in making the most of her college experience. She became involved with Campus Ministry, is a member of Delta Pi, a peer mentor, and an Orientation leader. She also served as SGA secretary. Her outstanding record of involvement and achievement led to her selection as a Presidential Ambassador, a model university student who holds a minimum 3.0 GPA, is active on campus and exhibits leadership qualities. Ambassadors provide hospitality during presidential and campus events.
Sr. Marguerite O’Beirne, vice president for Mission and Ministry, adds, “Olivia is a faith-filled young woman whose generosity of spirit is evident in all of the many activities she is involved in on campus. In addition to her many hours of service, she is a high-performing nursing student who has provided leadership for student retreat experiences and mentoring for first year students as they are adjusting to college life. Olivia is someone whom you can rely on for assistance whenever and wherever needed.”v
This past summer, Olivia traveled abroad to Bolivia on a service trip to help clean up a Bolivian University campus; to Spain to complete her last 3 credits in her minor; and to Guatemala post volcano where she visited an orphanage and distributed food to the residents in need. She describes her journeys as “amazing” and having a meaningful role in shaping her view of the world and in allowing her to become more self-confident, independent and appreciative of all she has been given.v
Olivia is looking forward to graduating and getting a job, maybe even at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where she had a summer internship. She also aspires to a master’s degree, but not immediately. After graduation, “I want to be able to give back and help someone else go to school. If students don’t have someone like John McShain helping them get an education, then they can miss out on so many opportunities in their lives. I have been able to do so much at Neumann with this scholarship, that I am confident that I will be successful in my career one day.”
Sr. Marguerite agrees. “I look forward to hearing more from Olivia as she continues to make a real difference in our world as a Neumann nurse.”
When Gabriela Pena began her college search, the DelCastle Technical High School graduate realized she wanted a small-school atmosphere, like Neumann University. “I knew I didn’t want the UDel (University of Delaware) experience. I was looking for more flexibility whether I was a resident or commuter student, and didn’t want to have to walk miles to class,” Pena said.
The senior, majoring in Liberal Arts, is a first generation college student and daughter of a single mother. “My mom sacrificed a lot to get me here. She always said to do what YOU want to do. Jobs won’t always only accept high school diplomas.”
Pena knew she wanted to go to college, but even before she was enrolled at Neumann, she was worried if she could afford to go.
Since freshman year, Pena has been a recipient of the Applied Bank Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to deserving state of Delaware students enrolled at Neumann University in the University’s Merit Award Program.
“Receiving the scholarship was a huge relief. It helped out a lot. It actually swayed my decision to go to Neumann. I wasn’t offered a scholarship anywhere else. Scholarship opportunities at Neumann allow students to prove themselves and accomplish their goals.”
Pena has turned out to be quite an asset to Neumann University. When she’s not in class, Pena is busy with campus activities. She is an orientation leader, very active in campus ministry and has a work study position in the Athletics department.
“Gabby is one of the leaders on campus,” said Megan Camp, director of service learning and community engagement. “She served as an orientation coordinator this summer, answering questions and providing guidance during Orientation.”
Being involved at Neumann has allowed Pena to connect with people and create powerful relationships. “(As an orientation leader,) I am able to tell them what Neumann is all about. It’s a second home. I made friends right away and I’m still friendly with my hall-mates four years later. I still see them.”
Being involved at Neumann has also given her career direction. Pena went with campus ministry on a service trip to Yellowstone National Park and now knows she wants to work in a national park after graduation.
Pena has also adapted Neumann’s core values (reverence, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship) for use outside of campus life. “I’ve used RISES for work and interviews. When you follow the core values, you are being true to yourself and others.”
Recipients of the Applied Bank Scholarship shall be selected by Neumann University in accordance with required regulations of University policy and the following criteria: each recipient must be a permanent resident of the state of Delaware and enrolled in any of the academic bachelor degree programs at Neumann University, in good academic standing, and must qualify under the low-to-moderate income guidelines for New Castle County, Kent or Sussex Counties which are defined and annually updated in a letter from Applied Bank.