September 9, 2021
When Mars Hill University opened the 2021-22 academic year last week, it celebrated growth among new students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. The university welcomed its largest class of incoming traditional students since 2017. The 354 incoming students represents nearly ten percent growth over the incoming class of 2018.
This year’s class includes, for the first time, recipients of the Tennessee Neighbor Promise. That program offers to students from neighboring counties in Northeast Tennessee the same benefits available to Western North Carolina students through the Local Lion Promise. The two scholarship programs provide a guaranteed 50-percent discount on tuition, reflecting a renewed focus on Mars Hill being the university of choice for students from the region.
“Our hard work to attract excellent local and regional students is working,” said university President Tony Floyd.
The class also includes the inaugural group of Blackwell Scholars in Leadership and Citizenship, a new program designed for students with high levels of engagement and leadership in their high school careers. The award is part of the overarching Robert R. and Virginia Blackwell Scholarship Endowment Program. The program was established through an initial gift from the estate of the Blackwells. Robert Blackwell was a graduate of the Mars Hill class of 1948.
“This is such a professional, engaged, and motivated group of students,” said associate professor of chemistry and faculty chair Amanda Knapp, who is a faculty mentor for the Blackwell Scholars. ”We have enjoyed meeting them and cannot wait to see them grow into leaders that will have a positive influence on the MHU campus and in the community!”
MHU also enrolled 47 students in its graduate programs, which is a record number of graduate students on the first day of class since the university began offering master’s degrees ten years ago. This year, the university saw growth across its graduate programs, which include the Master of Management, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and two master’s degree programs in education.
“We’ve recently expanded online offerings in undergraduate programs for working adults, with updated undergraduate programs in business and psychology,” said Carolyn Kuzell, associate director of admissions and Adult and Graduate Studies admissions counselor. With those new undergraduate programs, combined with the graduate programs, Mars Hill saw a 20 percent year-over-year growth in student headcount in the Adult and Graduate Studies program.