Arkansas Tech Enrolls 10,000th Student

Little did Luke Roberson know on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 24, that he was making Arkansas Tech University history.

That was when the Arkansas Tech Academic Advising Office officially enrolled Roberson in classes for the fall 2011 semester.

He was the 10,000th student enrolled at Arkansas Tech this fall, pushing the university to a significant enrollment milestone.

The fall 2011 semester will mark the first time that Arkansas Tech enrollment has ever surpassed 10,000 students. The growth represents an enrollment increase of more than 135 percent since 1997.

“This is a special moment in the life of Arkansas Tech University,” said Dr. Robert C. Brown, Arkansas Tech president since 1993. “A university is known primarily by the reputation of its faculty. The excellence demonstrated by our faculty colleagues over a span of many years is the primary reason we have reached 10,000 students. The quantity of our students is impressive, but the quality of our academic programs made this milestone possible.”

Roberson (photographed, right, with Dr. Brown) is from Van Buren. He first enrolled at Arkansas Tech in fall 2009, and he returned to school this fall after sitting out the 2010-11 academic year.

In recognition of his distinction as “Mr. 10,000,” Roberson will receive a Second Century Scholars award from Arkansas Tech.

“I never get lucky like this,” said Roberson upon hearing the news. “My parents will be very excited.”

Arkansas Tech will achieve its 13th consecutive school record enrollment this fall, a record that is unmatched by any public university in the state. Enrollment figures will become official after Sept. 8, the 11th day of classes for the fall semester.

The path to 10,000 students began in 1995, when Arkansas Tech embarked upon a new era of deliberate and participatory strategic planning.

Moderately selective admissions standards were instituted, and by 1999 the process began to bear fruit. A then school-record total of 4,840 students enrolled at Arkansas Tech that fall.

The Arkansas Tech enrollment record has been surpassed in every year since then. Tech went over 5,000 students in 2000, 6,000 students in 2003, 7,000 students in 2006, 8,000 students in 2009 and 9,000 students in 2010.

Now, as Arkansas Tech tops 10,000 students for the first time in its 102-year history, it has arrived by any measure as one of the top institutions of higher learning in Arkansas.

“We are a university of choice for many of the best and brightest our state has to offer,” said Brown. “Arkansas Tech has shed the small college label and become a leader for higher education in Arkansas. We are committed to offering high-caliber programs in fields of study critical to the future of our state.

“But above all of this, we are what we have always been — a place of opportunity for the people of Arkansas,” continued Brown. “Regardless of our growth, we will remain focused on the idea that our No. 1 priority is to provide each student with the opportunity to persist to graduation and realize the life-changing benefits of a college degree.”