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Thomas More Announces 5-Year Strategic Plan

Thomas More College unveiled their strategic plan for the next five years on Tuesday with the slogan Value More, Engage More, Thrive More.

President David Armstrong presented the plan to students and professionals in a packed Steigerwald Hall in the Saints Center. He broke his presentation into the three parts of the plan's slogan.

For the Value More segment, he talked about why college is still a worthwhile value and of how it's important for students to get a return on their investment.

“You hear the constant criticism of higher education and whether or not a college degree has value; whether or not it's worth it. Whether or not there is a return on investment,” Armstrong said to the crowd. “I'm very proud and happy to tell you that the strategic plan worked on by so many people here in our community, emphatically answers that question, and that answer is that Thomas More College will give you a return on your investment.”

The next phase of the presentation was Engage More, where Armstrong said that the symbol of the plan is an icosahedron, a 20-faced three dimensional object formed of many triangles.

“The icosahedron shows that although we have simple goals, education, the journey of the spirit is a very complex journey with deep meaning and deep concepts and complexity,” Armstrong said.

He then went on to discuss how students will Engage More with Thomas More. He talked about the college's goals to improve in that area. One was to commit to continuous improvement with program evaluations and make decisions based on those results. Another was to explore new programs and expand current ones. Armstrong pointed to recently added programs to Thomas More like marine biology, athletic training, and forensic science as ways that the school has already moved in that direction.

The last area of his presentation detailed ways that Thomas More can remain fiscally sound for its future. One of those ways is to increase enrollment and grow into what Armstrong said was an ideal size for the school. This year, the College started with a total of 1,655 students and hopes to raise that number to 2,300 by 2020.

Armstrong said that Thomas More needs to diversify its revenue streams beyond tuition and strengthen community partners. He highlighted existing partnerships between Thomas More and companies like St. Elizabeth Hospital which works with the school's nursing and athletic training programs, the Newport Aquarium which works with the marine biology program, and Duke Energy at the Biology River Field Station for the STEM program.

Another goal is to increase the school's endowment from $15 million to $23 million in five years time.

Story & photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo: President David Armstrong announces Thomas More College's new 5-year strategic plan/RCN