Ancilla College continues to expand its offerings for students. Vice President of Enrollment Management Eric Wignall says the school will have some new sports teams next school year, and that’s just the beginning.
“Come fall, we’re going to have lacrosse for the first time,” he says. “We’re going to have track. We’re going to have cross country. We’re going to have these things. That’s interesting and people get excited about that because it’s athletics and it’s really cool, but we’re also going to have agriculture as a major. We’re expanding our health science options so that people can go in and do front office work in hospitals or clinics or doctor’s offices. We’re doing stuff with the academic programs that are also just as exciting and just as interesting.”
Ancilla College President Ken Zirkle says the athletic programs work hand-in-hand the college’s academic efforts, “The neat thing about it for us is that when you look at the first semester, the grade point average of our student athletes is higher than the grade point average of the general student body. People don’t realize that. So not only are we attracting a good athlete, we’re attracting a good student. Four of our valedictorians/salutatorians are athletes.”
Zirkle says the addition of the school’s first residence hall in 2015 has made a significant enrollment increase possible, “That has set a different bar for us, quite frankly. And I think we made a smart decision in saying for the first year, that if you lived within a 20-mile radius, you weren’t going to live in a residence hall. So we continued with that commuter population, so all of the sudden we had 117 students living in a residence hall that the year before would not have been at Ancilla at all.” According to Wignall, the school now has students from 15 different states and eight countries.
In addition to the residence hall, Ancilla has also added a new dining hall and student life center. Zirkle says it brings with it an opportunity for a new academic program, “Our kitchen facility for the new dining hall and recreation building/activities building, the kitchen part of that is absolutely state-of-the-art. Some of the equipment in there has never even been used prior to this year, anyplace. So we’re combining what we’re doing to feed the students with the beginnings of a culinary program.”
Right now, Ancilla’s in the process of building its second residence hall. It’s planned to be completed in time for the fall semester.