On Monday, Palm Beach Atlantic University welcomed the largest incoming undergraduate class in its history — nearly 800 students.
Meanwhile, the University is on track to surpass previous records for total enrollment, although official figures will not be available until later in the fall.
Not only will this class of nearly 600 freshmen and 200 transfer students be record-setting in size, University officials say, but also in its quality. More than 70 students have been accepted into the Frederick M. Supper Honors program, more than double the number of students admitted last year, according to current admissions data.
Dean of Admissions Joe Sharp attributes the increase to a refinement in admissions, registration and financial aid procedures that ultimately put more information into the hands of students and parents earlier. “We were intentional about advancing these actions,” he said.
As a result of the increase, the University’s Residence Life team will provide housing for a record 1,200 students in its eight residence halls. To accommodate additional undergraduates, the Mango Apartments, which formerly housed married students, has been converted to traditional student housing.
Another change for the new academic year is the return of varsity men’s and women’s golf to Sailfish Athletics. Craig Watson, a PGA Class A Professional since 1978 who has worked locally as the program director for The First Tee of the Palm Beaches, has been named head coach.
Meanwhile, construction continues at the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus. Six of 12 planned tennis courts are nearing completion at the Mitch Gornto Tennis Center complex, and work is under way on the other playing fields.
One major change will not immediately impact students. PBA President William M.B. Fleming Jr. announced in July that the University will acquire the neighboring Quattlebaum Funeral and Cremation Services property.
The funeral home will continue to operate there through the end of 2013, he said. One short-term plan under discussion involves demolishing the existing building and creating a lighted, landscaped parking area while the master plan is reexamined, he said.