That sound you’re hearing? That’s the roar of more than 6,200 Lions.

Efforts to grow the number of students at Missouri Southern resulted in an unprecedented 7.7-percent increase in students for the Fall 2016 semester – and a historic high enrollment for the university.

Total university enrollment for the semester reached 6,229. The previous high, set in 1990, was 6,012. The record enrollment follows the growth seen in the Fall 2015 semester.

Missouri Southern students are enrolled in 72,809 credit hours, up 6.9 percent from last year’s 68,101. The number of new freshmen choosing to come to MSSU grew from 925 in 2015 to 1,063 this year – an increase of 14.9 percent.

“It’s all part of a plan put into place a few years ago that is now coming to fruition,” said Derek Skaggs, dean of admissions. “We’ve stepped up our admission recruitment and marketing efforts, as well as our international and athletics recruiting.”

Significant factors cited in the university’s enrollment growth include the expansion of the Lion Pride Tuition area; the development of new graduate programs; an increase in the number of dual-credit students from area high schools; changes to the university’s scholarship programs; new international recruitment efforts; and the development of the Yours to Lose Advanced Medical School Acceptance Program.

“Having the deans and department heads add and expand sections to meet course demand was also huge,” said Skaggs. “This was intentional – everyone has been working together to grow enrollment and serve our students.”

Dr. Alan Marble, president of Missouri Southern, said the numbers are reflective of the university’s work to broaden its reach and provide more opportunities for students.

“Enrollment growth like this comes from the collective efforts of our faculty and staff,” he said. “It shows what we’ve known for a long time – that Missouri Southern is a destination of choice for students taking the next big step in their academic and professional development.”