William Woods Welcomes Record Number of New Students

With the start of classes Monday (Aug. 25), William Woods University welcomed 325 new students—its largest incoming class ever—bringing the university’s total enrollment to nearly 3,500. That’s a 37 percent increase overall.


“The continued health of the university—from both a financial and an enrollment perspective—is a strong indicator that William Woods is leading the way in higher education,” WWU President Jahnae H. Barnett said.


The enrollment includes approximately 855 on-campus students, plus more than 300 undergraduates and 2,300 graduate students who take their classes in locations throughout Missouri and at new sites in Arkansas.


“We are very pleased that such a large number of new students have chosen to attend William Woods University,” said Jimmy Clay, vice president of recruitment, adding, “The entire university team contributed to our recruitment successes.”


He emphasized that these results were achieved as “larger numbers of prospective students and their parents saw value in receiving in- and out-of-classroom educational experiences delivered ‘The Woods Way.’”


Clay said recruitment levels far exceeded all application, acceptance, deposited, and enrollment levels since 2004. Applications and acceptances were up 30 percent, and deposited and registered students up 20 percent over last year.


“This is particularly impressive, considering the current state of the economy and the financial aid challenges students throughout the United States are experiencing,” he said.


The new class includes students from 24 states. Overall, 45 states and 13 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador, England, United Kingdom, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Spain and Taiwan) are represented in the student body in Fulton.

Students continue to pursue a professions-oriented curriculum. Top intended majors for this years’ incoming class include business administration, sports management, equestrian science, elementary education, communications, athletic training, biology and American Sign Language interpreting.


With the start of the new semester, the school’s innovative LEAD (Leading, Educating, Achieving and Developing) program begins its ninth year. The program provides awards ($5,000 to residential students and $2,500 to commuters) to any incoming student who agrees to make a commitment to campus and community involvement.


LEAD is intended to encourage and reward the type of activities that make for a complete, well-rounded liberal arts background.


Chris Horn is a freshman participating in LEAD. He also received a theatre scholarship. A graduate of Fulton High School, he considered several other colleges before deciding on William Woods.


“College is expensive,” he said, “so every scholarship offer helped in my decision. Once I stayed overnight on campus, I really liked it here. I didn’t get an outside feeling even though it was a new place; it already felt like home.”


Horn plans to double major in business and theatre and said, “I hope to walk away with a degree and lots of connections.”


The impact of the successful LEAD program, coupled with the popularity of the Graduate & Adult Studies program, has contributed to steady growth for William Woods University. In 1990, before WWU added undergraduate and graduate programs for working adults, 713 students attended William Woods. The overall enrollment has quintupled in the past 18 years.


William Woods offers Graduate & Adult Studies programs in more than 125 locations throughout Missouri and in Arkansas. Programs include an associate of arts degree in liberal studies, the ACCESS program of general education, a bachelor of science in management (BSM), a BSM with human resources emphasis, a B.S. in elementary education, a B.S. in paralegal studies and a bachelor of social work degree.


Graduate programs include a master of business administration (MBA), MBAs with accounting, agribusiness, health management or human resources emphasis, a master of education (M.Ed.) in administration, curriculum/instruction or athletics/activities administration and a specialist of education in school administration or instructional leadership.