Fort Valley State University Is on the Mend

This past spring, Larry E. Rivers assumed the presidency of Fort Valley State University, the historically black educational institution in Fort Valley, Georgia. One of his main goals to help strengthen the struggling state-operated university was to boost enrollments. Over the past decade, total enrollments at the black college had dropped from 3,024 to 2,174. The future looked even bleaker. First-year enrollments in 2005 had dropped to 306.

In his first 90 days in office, Rivers visited 100 high schools, college fairs, and other locations for the purpose of encouraging more students to come to Fort Valley State University. A new admissions director was hired and a media campaign was instituted to publicize the university. Admissions counselors and recruiters were sent out to high schools throughout the state.

These efforts appear to have been a resounding success. This fall, there are 555 new freshmen at the university, an increase of 81 percent from a year ago.