Sacred Heart University welcomes class of 2019

With 1,316 students, Sacred Heart University’s class of 2019 joins the two previous classes as the largest in Sacred Heart history. In addition to its size, the class is also distinguished by its academic accomplishments as evidenced by an average high school GPA of 3.4, which is the highest ever GPA for an incoming class. The students hail from 13 international countries and 25 states and territories with the most common being New York (36%), Connecticut (26%), New Jersey (17 %) and Massachusetts (10%). Ninety-one percent of the class will live on campus.

Sacred Heart is experiencing enrollment success—even as many private colleges are facing declining enrollment and financial difficulties—because of the addition of programs and facilities that respond to the evolving needs of students and the employment marketplace, administrators say.

“Sacred Heart’s success boils down to three integrated commitments: close alignment to a bold, ever-evolving Strategic Plan; ambitious institutional investments in facilities, programs and student services; and an enrollment team committed to finding students who will benefit from and contribute to the University’s distinct character and vision,” says Jim Barquinero, senior vice president, Athletics, Enrollment Planning & Student Affairs.

The University has made critical institutional investments in faculty, programs and facilities to make achieving those goals possible. These have included growing existing academic programs and developing new ones; expanding residential life services and new facilities; and bringing an innovative, award-winning curriculum and extracurricular activities to students both here and abroad.

“Sacred Heart is blessed with a remarkable and hopeful energy. We are student-centered, results-driven and firmly focused on the quality of education we provide,” says SHU President John J. Petillo.

SHU has also created new programs—and dropped others—to respond to student interest and the needs of the marketplace. This is particularly evident in the areas of health professions and nursing where over the past 20 years, SHU has expanded and added programs to respond to increasing health-care needs. In 2014, U.S.News and World Report ranked SHU’s doctoral-level physical therapy program the best in Connecticut and among the top five in New England. Today, Sacred Heart offers the broadest range of health sciences in New England and metro New York and is breaking ground on a new building to house the Colleges of Health Professions and Nursing, which have outgrown their current location.

This new Center for Healthcare Education will include a multi-professional education clinic that will offer specialized single-profession services and a collaborative, holistic approach to needed services for everyone from pediatric to geriatric populations. Disciplines that will collaborate in the clinic include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, exercise science, athletic training, physician assistant and nursing. Along with a medical gym and individual treatment rooms, the clinic will have an aquatic therapy pool and an audiology suite used for teaching skills in hearing assessment, aural rehabilitation and fitting clients with hearing aids. Clinic staff will also have access to the motion analysis and human performance labs and a driving simulator. The clinic will serve as an outpatient teaching lab when not in use for clinical services.

The building will also house state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom facilities designed to support a collaborative, team-based learning environment; discipline-specific laboratories; an immersive acute care simulation lab with video and data capture capability to provide enhanced feedback on student performance in a clinical setting; a simulated outpatient suite for evaluation and treatment of ambulatory patients; a home-care suite to simulate occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology and nursing practice; an expanded human anatomy lab to support? health professions and nursing students; enhanced athletic training, human performance and motion analysis labs; a multi-purpose amphitheater and more.

This is not the only sign of growth at Sacred Heart. This fall, students will begin taking classes at the brand new Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center. The students will enjoy state-of-the-art facilities that include an active trading floor; dedicated conference rooms for business meetings and internships; screening venues; “smart” classrooms with multimedia technology; satellite equipment and movable furniture for various learning configurations; a multi-media forum for leadership institutes, lectures and screenings; interactive labs, including a motion capture lab for motion picture animation and video game design; two large television studios for TV, video and film production; and a radio station.

The University is also putting the finishing touches on its new Student Success Center, which will house the Center for Teaching and Learning to provide students with tutoring for their academic programing. In addition, the Office of Special Services will provide support and accommodations for students who need specific help with learning. There is also a space for the laboratory for literacy where graduate students in Education will provide tutoring in reading to children in the Bridgeport Public School System. The Global Affairs Office will also reside there to continue its work in expanding global learning opportunities for SHU students, particularly in Dingle, Luxembourg and Rome.

In addition, SHU is currently building a new residence hall. The 87,000-square-foot, 216-bed building will be organized like a village, with bedroom suite neighborhoods sharing small lounges. The hall will also offer students a bluestone fireplace in a grand three-story maple-paneled lounge on the first floor, a full-wall screen for gaming,  lounges and other community spaces, a protected grass courtyard, fitness center and conference and multi-purpose rooms for formal meetings, student government activities and social events.

Future expansion at SHU will include a new building to house WSHU Radio and the Public Safety team, athletics facilities, more residence halls and additional dining options.

Students embrace after reuniting on move-in weekend at Sacred Heart University. — Photo by Tracy Deer-Mirek.

Students embrace after reuniting on move-in weekend at Sacred Heart University. — Photo by Tracy Deer-Mirek.

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