Gonzaga Approaches 2020 with Unprecedented Momentum

Innovative, Collaborative, and Mission-Focused

2019-0826 Academic Convocation
Gonzaga's current first-year class is its most academically qualified and diverse in history.
October 23, 2019
Gonzaga News Service

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University is powering toward the third decade of the 21st century with an emphasis on innovation and collaboration, and a focused commitment to excellence in all of its mission-driven activities. 

University-bound students have already discovered the Gonzaga advantage. The University received an all-time high 9,311 applications for its current first-year class, enrolling 1,248 students who comprise its most academically qualified and diverse class in history.

Gonzaga has risen to be recognized as a "National University" by U.S. News & World Report, joining 398 other universities ranging from Ivy League Schools to major research institutions. In the recent 2020 rankings, Gonzaga ranked in the top 20% of National Universities at 79th. With an average first-year retention rate of 94% and a graduation rate of 86%, U.S. News ranks Gonzaga’s graduation and retention in the top 12% of National Universities at 48th. GU's undergraduate teaching rated 17th

In addition to attracting some of the nation’s top teaching faculty and best students, Gonzaga began its 132nd academic year with a sea change in academic leadership as four new academic deans — three of whom are women — assumed their roles led by incoming Provost and Senior Vice President Deena J. González, Ph.D. 

Scene from the grand opening of the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center in April. (GU photo)

In the past six months alone, construction investments were completed or launched on more than $171 million worth of teaching and learning facilities.  
  • In April, Gonzaga opened the ultramodern Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center — thanks to the largest donation ($55 million) in University history from Miss Myrtle Woldson, one of Spokane’s most generous philanthropists. She directed $25 million to an endowment to fund scholarships for students with high financial need, and $30 million to build the 52,000-square-foot, two-story center.
  • On Sept. 9, Gonzaga unveiled with its partners a $60 million center for medical education, health sciences and innovation that will serve as the new home for the University of Washington School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership. The 80,000 square-foot facility is being developed through an innovative partnership with McKinstry, a national leader in design and construction of high-performance buildings. 
  • And on Sept. 26, Gonzaga launched construction of a transformative $56 million Integrated Science and Engineering Facility — heralding a new era in STEM education and interdisciplinary collaboration. The new facility enables faculty and students to engage in important theoretical and applied work in a state-of-the-art new learning environment. 
ceremonial ground-breaking event for ISE
The deans, the provost, the president and students at the Sept. 26 groundbreaking for the Integrated Science and Engineering facility. (GU photo)
Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh, D-Phil., says that this momentum would not be possible without the extraordinary support of more than 40,000 generous donors whose contributions to Gonzaga Will: The Campaign for Our Future secured more than $355 million in the University's largest capital campaign in its history — a full $100 million over goal — just over a year ago. A total of $110 million of these gifts went toward student scholarships. 

More Momentum

In addition to its debut in the National University category in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report best colleges rankings, the annual publication also ranks Gonzaga in several other categories including 21st engineering program (among non-doctorate engineering schools) and 48th best for veterans.

The report follows Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine rating Gonzaga the 21st best value among private universities in the nation (2019), and Zippia, a career site, ranking GU No. 1 among colleges and universities in the state of Washington (2019) for the percentage of alumni with jobs 10 years after graduation. 

Gonzaga’s own most recent First Destination Survey Report found that 95% of GU alumni who earned bachelor’s or graduate degrees with the class of 2018 were employed (full- or part-time), continuing their education or doing volunteer work. Among other respected rankings, the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2020” included Gonzaga among its 323 best U.S., Canadian, British and Irish colleges and universities for the fifth consecutive year.

About Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University, established in Spokane, Wash. in 1887, is a nationally ranked, Jesuit and Catholic, liberal-arts based comprehensive institution that develops every student’s intellectual skills, imaginative capacities and ability to innovate so our graduates become leaders who shape and server their professions and communities for the good of all. Gonzaga offers 16 undergraduate degrees through 49 majors, 58 minors and 49 concentrations; 24 master’s programs; and five doctorate degrees, through the College of Arts and Sciences and six schools: School of Business Administration, School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Nursing and Human Physiology, School of Leadership Studies, and School of Law.

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