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'An exciting time': Steady enrollment and balanced budget touted at DSU State of the University address

DSU President Stephen Easton.jpg
DSU President Dr. Stephen Easton
Photo courtesy of Dickinson State University
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DICKINSON — Dickinson State University President Steve Easton updated stakeholders and the general public on the progress made over the previous year in his annual State of the University address on Monday, Aug. 15. During his speech, Easton declared that DSU is continuing to move in the right direction, sharing optimism and a positive outlook for the forthcoming academic year.

Easton opened the address with a welcome to the new faculty and staff, noting that “the return of our students to campus at the start of an academic year is always an exciting time.” Stressing the importance of enrollment and their impact on the budget for the institution, Easton said the university has been prosperous in many regards.

“We have been fortunate to have steady enrollment for the past two years, though it is of course possible we will see a slight decline,” he said. “Overall, our budget is in good shape, as our expenses and revenue are equivalent.”

Praising faculty and staff, Easton commended all for their continued efforts in promoting the university in a positive light and in understanding the value of a student-centered campus.

“Our Admissions staff, our coaches and several of our faculty and staff have done a great job making students aware of the many opportunities at Dickinson State,” he said. “We need to have student-focused services, encourage our students and recognize the good things they are doing.”


In 2021, Easton outlined his objectives in the wake of the university officially launching its new strategic plan, “5 Years in Focus: A Blueprint for DSU’s Future.” The plan outlined strategic goals and aligned each with their impacts on students — seeking goals that presented positive impacts on one of the most important key stakeholder groups in students. Among the many goals established under the plan was one which aspired to provide relevant programs, equip students for success and invest in faculty and staff.

Following the address from Easton, newly minted interim Vice President and Provost John Miller shared his objectives in his new position.

DICKINSON — The U.S. News & World Report released its 2022-2023 Best Colleges rankings on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, and Dickinson State University ranked No. 7 for Top Public Schools – Regional Colleges (Midwest).

“My goal is to provide leadership and smooth continuity of operations in Academic and Student Affairs,” Miller explained, noting that his efforts include investigation of programming in academic and student affairs, ensuring transparency and accountability in budget activities and managing committee activities.

Miller continued the overall positive message, sharing the current outlook on enrollment for the institution — which increased in full-time enrollment during the 2021 and 2022 summers and as well as the spring 2022 semester.

“Dickinson State University had an increase in spring enrollment by nearly 2%, while that was not happening around the country,” he said. “According to US News, public colleges and universities experienced a 5% drop in undergraduate enrollment, with an overall enrollment decline of 9.4% in undergraduate enrollment since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Highlighting the ongoing partnerships that DSU are engaged in, Miller touted them as critical factors in continuing to the stabilization and, in most cases, boost in enrollment witnessed over the previous 12 months.

Kristen Fleury, associate athletic director at DSU, took to the dias to report that the number of new and returning student-athletes to Dickinson State is healthy. According to Fleury, DSU athletics will welcome a total of 406 student-athletes to campus this year, with approximately 153 of those being new athletes.

Fleury encouraged public and university attendance at athletic events, noting that the school offers an array of sporting events.


“The first football game will be held Thursday, Sept. 1. We hope everyone will attend, as this event will feature a pregame with First-on-First and fireworks after the game,” she said, noting that the DSU volleyball team will be on the road for a few preseason tournaments in the coming weeks. “Season pass sales are up compared to previous years, which is a good sign.”

The Blue Hawks return to athletic performance after coming off a banner year. During the previous year, DSU’s cheer team placed 4th at National Competition, football won its 7th consecutive conference title, women’s indoor track and field won its 4th consecutive conference championship and the university had 117 Academic All-Americans.

Ty Orton, executive director of the DSU Heritage Foundation, addressed the gathered attendance next and shared student scholarship information — noting that they are the highest ever.

“This is the second year in a row that the Foundation is offering $1.1 million in scholarships to deserving students thanks to our generous donors,” Orton said.

Dickinson State University President Steve Easton updated stakeholders and the general public on the progress made over the previous year in his annual State of the University address on Monday, Aug. 15.
Photo by James B. Miller, Jr.

More more information on upcoming events at DSU, visit dickinsonstate.edu/events .

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