Dear Friend of MIU,
This is a most impactful, transformational, and expansionary time for MIU.
My presidency has been a wild roller-coaster ride from the beginning, with truly exhilarating heights — punctuated by a few breathtaking plunges!
Three short years ago, COVID threatened to shut us down, and indeed did shut down many colleges in Iowa and across the nation. Our faculty and administrators were remarkably nimble in adapting our education to in-room learning for our on-campus students, and in putting a strong new focus on distance education, which is fueling our rapid growth today. We turned lemons into lemonade — and we’ve more than doubled our enrollment since. (Great thanks to certain Trustee donors, who inspired and funded a digital revolution on campus that has allowed us to expand in such extraordinary fashion.)
Right on the heels of COVID, we hosted a historic Golden Jubilee Celebration accompanied by a dramatic transformation of our MIU campus — a transformation generously supported by our Annual Fund and Capital Campaign donors. And just three weeks ago, our ancient MIU pool (like Lazarus) was raised from the dead. One lead donor got the ball rolling, and many others jumped on board. And soon our pool was spectacularly renovated! We just held a joyous (but chilly!) inauguration at which the bravest among us took an auspicious plunge — including two Parsons College alums who were here to celebrate Parsons’s final class reunion.
Interspersed with such heights we have battled some lows. Last November, the bottom dropped out of the tech sector, and ComPro hires fell by two-thirds. Since ComPro job placements comprise nearly half of MIU’s total revenues (due to its size and high tuition), this caused a drop in MIU’s total revenues by a third. Given MIU’s lack of a substantial endowment, we had to squeak by on our modest cash reserves and our $3.25 million in endowment reserves, built through donations over the past few years.
This year, buoyed by some rebound in ComPro hiring and our largest non-ComPro entering class ever (fueled in part by the launch of some exciting new academic programs), we are predicting a better-than-breakeven academic year this year. And, even with ComPro’s lower enrollment, MIU is now far larger than ever.
Also, if you haven’t yet heard, I am delighted to share the news that MIU has recruited two exceptional senior leaders to serve as MIU’s Chief Operating Officer and as MIU’s Vice President of Online Education and Digital Transformation (VPOEDT) — positions designed to further accelerate MIU’s expansion. Our new VPOEDT, Bill Smith, has previously served successfully in high academic positions, including university president, and has tremendous breadth and depth of experience. Chris Muller, our new COO, has held high executive positions at major companies and has expertise in finance, human resource development, and all aspects of management. This powerful added support, combined with all the wonderful leadership and partnership I’ve enjoyed thus far, will help us achieve Maharishi’s grand vision of MIU as a global leader in the field of education — as it already is now, but on too small a scale.
As our Founder Maharishi said with deep satisfaction on that poignant evening when he “closed his life of service to Guru Dev” — “The future of the world is bright . . . and that is my delight.” I can see that bright future dawning today for his precious university.
And yet . . . we are not entirely without risk. A “better than breakeven year” is a good starting point and a stunning turnaround from last year. But with our endowment reserves and cash reserves drawn down by last year’s tech slow-down, we must rely on our precious donors’ continuing generosity to achieve our strongest Annual Fund ever.
One hundred percent of every Annual Fund gift:
1) Sustains our faculty and staff
2) Supports all the crucial operations of our university
3) Provides student scholarships that are strategically allotted to maximally boost student enrollment — which repays itself manyfold through increased tuition revenues
4) Any unspent Annual Fund support at the end of the year flows directly to our cash reserves and endowment reserves, helping to rebuild our strong foundation.
Better than donations restricted to a specific project, Annual Fund gifts allow me, as President, to strategically grow the success of our University. The Annual Fund is king! This year, we’ve set an ambitious target for our Annual Fund of $4,000,000.
I can say in all sincerity: This is the most important year ever for our Annual Fund. With our potential so much greater than ever — yet our reserves substantially depleted — we must rebuild our financial foundation. We are pulling out all the stops on campus to achieve that crucial goal. But your help, and your generosity, are more vital than ever.
Please give generously!
With my sincere gratitude and deep affection,
John Hagelin, President
Maharishi International University