Prospective bulls at Undergraduate Open House.

Bill Hogarth’s blog: Undergraduate Open House underscores growing interest in USFSP

Last Saturday I had the privilege of welcoming a couple hundred prospective students and their parents to an undergraduate Open House at the University Student Center. It was the second Open House of the fall semester and just as busy as the first.

I was struck by the enthusiasm everyone seemed to have for USF St. Petersburg. It seems the word is getting out about what a great place this is.

Events like this get you thinking about tomorrow. Even as our current group of freshmen – the largest we’ve ever had ­- head toward the end of their first semester, another group is eagerly waiting to join them.

In fact, fall applications are up significantly among prospective first-time-in-college students. That reflects well on our excellent recruitment efforts, but also suggests that the public awareness of USF St. Petersburg is growing.

I love events like this because it gives me a chance to tell our story: We are a proud member of the USF System with 22 undergraduate programs of our own in business, education and arts and sciences; a distinguished faculty who are leaders in their respective fields who know their students and help them achieve their dreams; a growing residential student body who enjoy the beautiful waterfront campus in a thriving downtown.

You should have seen the specimens that the Biology faculty brought or the posters at the Criminology Student Association table.

It’s easy to get caught up in the challenges of day-to-day life, to meet the high expectations we set for ourselves and others demand. Saturday’s Open House was another reminder of the progress we’ve already made.

This was the first time we have held two freshmen Open Houses in the fall semester, and another is planned for Jan. 27. If you know anyone who might be interested in USF St. Petersburg, please let them know. Each event is an opportunity to meet our academic leaders, our professors, tour the campus and discover what a special place this is.

I’m looking forward to it.