2022-23 has arrived with momentum

Dear campus community,

Welcome to the launch of a new academic year. Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member on this first day of 2022-23, opportunities for pursuing even greater levels of personal or professional success start here—and those opportunities abound.

Students, we are so glad you are here. We’re ready to teach you in ways that will excite your mind and spur your curiosity to learn more. We will challenge you to use your unique gifts to pursue your purpose and achieve your goals. And our campus resources, programs and talented community will support your holistic well-being.

Faculty and staff, we share the pursuit of transformed lives and advancing knowledge all with an eye to making the world better. Each one of you makes this possible. Thank you for putting our students first as you contribute your talent, time and considerable caring to ensure students have a transformational campus experience. Because of you, we offer a high-quality education that sets students up to thrive in life and find meaningful careers.

As a community, we have accomplished a great deal in the last year, and we have momentum that will propel us into a successful year ahead. A myriad of achievements that brought us to this point and other signs of our continual growth give us ample reasons to take pride in being Broncos. This is not nearly an exhaustive list, but it is impressive and underscores our pride in your productivity. As a community, let’s celebrate what each other is accomplishing. I hope this abbreviated reminder provides inspiration to all of us to aim even higher in the coming year.


Edward Montgomery

Western is a value-added university. 

Through our educational offerings, research and scholars’ outreach, we meet real needs in society and make life better as a result.

  • The University closed the 2021-22 academic year with a 3.3% increase in research expenditures, totaling $28.5 million, compared to the previous year. That figure represents a 15% increase over the last four years.
  • Drs. Patricia Reeves and Jianping Shen will continue to transform Michigan schools with a $29.5 million in grant funding awarded through the U.S. Department of Education's Promise Neighborhoods Program. The five-year project is funded at roughly $6 million a year. It is one of the largest federal grants in University history and will fund the Grand Rapids Southeast Promise Neighborhood Project.
  • Our outstanding jazz studies program has been named in the international magazine DownBeat as part of its 45th annual Student Music Awards. Several students and faculty members were recognized for their work. 
  • For the first time in WMU history, a team of 30 Haworth College of Business advertising and promotion students won first place in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition. 
  • Nursing student and gymnast Payton Murphy was a finalist for the 2022 College Women's Sports Awards’ Honda Inspiration Award. After a nearly career-ending neck fracture, her determination to rise above calamity to again compete should be an inspiration to us all.
  • Ph.D. student Mohamed Elhebery won the 2022 Geological Society of America Farouk El-Baz Student Research Award.
  • We are introducing new programs that are responsive to the needs of students and employers. A selected list includes two new bachelor’s programs that will begin this semester, including one in health administration and another in kinetic imaging. We also have established new master’s programs in finance and ceramics and three graduate certificates in business analytics, renewable power systems and addiction specialization, which will be in the College of Health and Human Services.

Western is increasingly an institution of choice. 

Amid a nationwide slump in college-going, we’ll never stop promoting the value of higher learning. We know it improves individual lives and provides solutions for the world’s challenges.

  • We experienced a second consecutive year of record applications for new first-year students, which increased 8.4% over last year.
  • According to preliminary data, we have enrolled one of the largest first-year classes in years. As of today, Aug. 31, the University had 2,574 confirmed new first-year students, which is up by about 25% compared to this time last year.

Western is an affordable choice. 

Thanks to the initial investments of the $550 Empowering Futures Gift, this year we are seeing the greatest expansion in scholarships in WMU history. Combined with institutional aid, these funds have brought an unprecedented increase in the level of financial support for students.

  • We awarded nearly 400 Bronco Promise scholarships, funding made possible by the Empowering Futures Gift and WMU Student Financial Aid.
  • Through the same efforts, we also awarded new housing scholarships. Students live in the brand-new Bronco Connect Living Learning Community, which has a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

More students are choosing to live on campus. 

Living on campus contributes to student success. Retention rates for on-campus students average 8% higher from year one to year two compared to students who live off campus.

  • As we headed into the fall semester, we anticipated almost 3,150 students would live in residence halls, a 14.7% increase.
  • Apartments were anticipated to be 95.1% occupied.

Our donor support and donor numbers continue to rise. 

The generosity of our donors helps undergird student and programmatic success. Donor investments help fund scholarships, programs and institutional initiatives.

  • Fiscal year 2021-22 was a banner year for philanthropic support. Our donors contributed $40.1 million, a 25% increase from the previous year when not including the unprecedented $550 million Empowering Futures Gift. 
  • In 2021-22, the number of Bronco fans contributing to athletics increased 73.1% and their gift totals increased 59.8%.
  • All told, Western garnered support from 9,835 alumni donors, a 5.2% increase from the previous year and the highest figure in a decade.

Western continues to put the student in student-athletes. 

We have an athletics division that is committed to comprehensive excellence—that means supporting students in their studies and their sport—and it shows.

  • During the spring semester, student-athletes earned a 3.33 composite grade point average, the sixth consecutive semester that student-athletes have exceeded a 3.3 standard and the highest semester GPA on record.   
  • More than half—56%—of student-athletes earned above a 3.5 grade point average.
  • And 93 Broncos received Academic All-Conference recognition.
  • Bronco football completed one of its most successful seasons in history, defeating Pitt and winning its bowl game for only the second time in history with a resounding victory in the Quick Lane Bowl.   
  • Ice hockey completed its most successful season in history, finishing as the NCHC frozen faceoff runner up, receiving a one seed in the NCAA tournament, winning its first NCAA tournament game in program history and competing in the NCAA Elite Eight.
  • Men’s tennis won both the MAC regular season and tournament championships for the ninth time in school history.
  • And gymnastics clinched a berth in the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year and was the MAC’s lone representative on the national stage.