It already seems too quiet on campus since many of you left at the end of the spring semester. I'm already looking forward to your return in the fall.
During the year, I expressed to you our goal of avoiding tuition increases and across the board increases in mandatory fees for continuing students for the next academic year.
The legislative session has now ended. I am happy to report to you that on June 24, I will recommend to our Regents that there be no tuition increases and no increases in mandatory across the board fees for next year. I fully expect that my recommendation will be approved because our Board of Regents has been strong in its support of keeping student costs to the minimum needed to maintain excellence.
In spite of a short fall in revenues, the governor and the state legislature did their best to avoid cuts in education budgets. In addition, OU made approximately $8 million in internal savings through freezes in hiring, in compensation, and other areas. The state leaders and our own faculty and staff who will receive no compensation increases this year, deserve our appreciation. All of us understand that students and families need as much relief as possible during this time of national economic crisis.
While we are holding down costs, we are committed to maintaining the university's high standard of excellence.
This has been an outstanding year at the university. Out student body is the highest ranked academically in state history at a public university. We saw OU students again win the Truman and Goldwater Scholarships. Our debate team won the national championship again this year making this our second national crown in three years. We strengthened our number one position among public universities in National Merit Scholars enrolled per capita. Our petroleum engineering team won the national championship competition and our entrepreneurship program was ranked in the top ten nationally. In addition, OU was ranked one of the nation's top 10 "Most Wired" colleges.
Finally, we excelled in many areas of athletics. For the first time in U.S. history, one university - OU - had the top football player in the nation, the top men's and women's basketball players nationally, and a male gymnast who won Olympic medals.
A memorable commencement address by Pulitzer Prize winning historian David McCullough, an enormous fireworks display, music by the Highland Bagpipes, the OU Herald Trumpets, and a salute to our flag by the Kiowa Black Legging Society ended a remarkable year.
I am glad to be able to give you this good news about tuition and fees. I am grateful that you are part of the OU Family. I wish you a happy and safe summer.