Morningside welcomes a top-five largest freshman class for third consecutive year, most international students in university history

Sep 09, 2021 • Academics, Admissions

Sioux City, IowaFor the third consecutive year, Morningside has enrolled a top-five largest freshman class in the history of the university, which includes the largest ever group of international first-year students.

The Morningside Class of 2025 is the third largest in history, comprised of 370 students from 19 states and seven countries, including 32 international students. This follows two previous years of top-five classes, with 368 freshmen arriving in 2019 and 358 first-year students enrolling in 2020. The largest freshman class was welcomed in 2011 with 377 students, and the second largest class of 372 students arrived in 2015.

“We are thrilled to welcome truly incredible students from around the globe to Morningside,” said Morningside University President John Reynders. “Together, the faculty and staff on this campus continue to strive for excellence in all things, and that is reflected in the quality of our academic programs, the accomplishments of arts and athletics, the engagement of student organizations, the excellent services offered to our students, the achievements of our alumni, and more. We are honored that students and families continue to choose Morningside, and we remain dedicated to giving them the best University experience possible.”

In addition to Morningside’s continued excellence in academics, athletics, and other program offerings, Morningside’s enrollment management and university engagement units have worked cooperatively over the last three years to make improvements to amplify Morningside’s recruitment efforts. Admissions materials have been completely overhauled, modifications were made to help encourage campus visits, the website and social media received updates, and several other new initiatives have been implemented to encourage students to visit the campus to experience Morningside for themselves.

“Morningside has a truly outstanding enrollment management team that is led by Steph Peters in admissions and Karen Weise in financial planning. Their teams really understand that the college decision is a major life event, and they do an outstanding job of making sure our Morningside students and their families have what they need,” said Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment Terri Curry.

Part of the Morningside’s recent growth has been a result of an increase in international students. Morningside has gone from single digit numbers of international freshman at the start of Reynders’ tenure in 1999 to welcoming a record-setting 32 international freshman students to campus this fall.

“We are fortunate to be located in Siouxland, which offers international students the opportunities of a larger city with the friendliness and safety of a smaller community,” said Curry. “More international students choosing Morningside is also great for our campus because of the global perspective our international students bring to our community. Our international students truly enrich our campus, and we are so honored that more and more students from around the globe choose us each year.”

Another key factor in welcoming three large freshman classes has been campus visits. Though COVID-19 resulted in a brief pause and lots of modifications to the campus visit process, Morningside was able to pivot to accommodate more individual visits instead of group visits, and the university engagement team worked to launch a new virtual tour and implemented new social media strategies that allowed prospective students to connect more directly with current Morningside students.

“To visit Morningside is to love Morningside. We’ve worked hard to let our students tell the Morningside story in a variety of ways using social media and other communication channels, and we’ve really focused on encouraging visits so students can experience what life at Morningside is like for themselves,” said Vice President for University Engagement Erin Edlund. “This is great place to learn, live, and grow, and giving our students a platform to share their stories while encouraging new students to visit campus authentically showcases exactly who we are and what we do.”

While COVID-19 and other challenges in higher education have presented obstacles, Morningside University has also been intentional about planning for its future. Following its recent name change from College to University, Morningside is also in the process of completing the new Rosen Ag Center & Lags Greenhouse, has taken initial steps to launch an aviation program in fall 2023, continues to invest in active and experiential learning opportunities for students, and is amid a search for the University’s thirteenth president as Reynders prepares to retire in June 2022.

“My time here at Morningside has been truly extraordinary, but I also know the best years still lie ahead for this place,” said Reynders. “There is great momentum here for the next leader to build upon, and the success of this past year exemplifies that. I have no doubt Morningside and its next leader will continue to shine as they serve the Siouxland region and beyond.”