With Jacksonville University humming along in a firm financial position, the chance to “put more gas in the engine” and realize its full potential is stronger than ever, incoming President Tim Cost told listeners to the popular First Coast Connect radio show on WJCT-FM Thursday morning.
Taking calls from residents and alumni alike, from areas including Mandarin, Arlington, Southside and beyond, Cost discussed the advantages of a small liberal arts school that mixes in signature marketplace programs to create new leaders.
“As a small, private university with an excellent value proposition … the goal you are working on is always, ‘Can we help shape students to be valuable, contributing members of society?’ We want them learning, achieving and serving,” he told listeners and host Melissa Ross.
Over the course of the half hour, Cost, who takes the reins from current President Kerry Romesburg Feb. 1, mentioned JU’s recently unveiled $85 million ASPIRE Comprehensive Campaign to enhance faculty development, student scholarships, honors and undergraduate research, the JU Annual Fund and unrestricted giving needs.
“It’s the first time in many years JU has come out and is working to attract new investors, people who want to hear what we are doing and support where we are going,” he said. “To us, it’s always the students and faculty support first, with scholarships and academics. We’ve got to help students carry their load and also support our faculty, who do a wonderful job.”
Cost took calls on a variety of topics, ranging from JU’s planned new football stadium, its location in Arlington and enrolling more local high school graduates to recruiting former faculty members, boosting online education, growing its lauded fine arts programs and marketing its most attractive assets.
“Ultimately, where you attend college is like a badge you wear these days. It matters where you went. … I’ll be taking a good hard look at many issues. The first thing you do when you come in to a position like this is shut up and listen, which is what I plan to do.”