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October 21, 2013

Post-Inauguration Update

President Alison Byerly sent the following email message to the campus community today:

To the College Community:

I write to offer my deepest thanks to all those who made the Inauguration festivities earlier this month so successful, as well as to update the community on the Board of Trustees meeting that also took place on Homecoming weekend.

As I think the photos, videos, and stories now on the web show, the Inauguration was a powerful demonstration of the strength of the Lafayette community. I was honored to have so many faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the College present. The many special guests and delegates from other institutions who attended were extraordinarily impressed by what they saw here: the beautiful campus, the helpful and efficient staff, the talented students and dedicated faculty.

The Inauguration Committee, chaired by Trustee Barbara Levy, did an amazing job of organizing a complex series of events. In addition to the excellent work of staff in Plant Ops, Catering, Communications, Development, and the President’s Office, many staff and student volunteers served as ambassadors and greeters across the campus.  The faculty who participated in the procession, the students who represented their departments and programs, the band and choir members whose lovely music graced the ceremony, and the students who participated by entering the video contest, all added immeasurably to the occasion.  Seeing the community come together for this wonderful event made me even prouder to be taking office as the President of Lafayette College.

The following day, the College’s Board of Trustees held its regular October meeting. The meeting began with the President’s Report, which focused on some of my initial plans and objectives, including the creation of three Presidential Task Forces that I will invite to offer recommendations in the following areas: (1) Curricular Innovation and Technology; (2) Enrollment Planning and Capacity; and (3) The Integrated Student Experience. As I have noted already in my remarks on campus, our challenge is to maintain momentum on the goals identified in the College’s 2007 strategic plan while also addressing emerging areas of importance.

The Board approved the 2012-3 Audit, and was informed that Moody’s Investors Service recently rated the College as Aa3, a strong rating to maintain at a time when a number of peer colleges have been downgraded.  Following a recommendation from the Committee on Investments, the Board agreed to explore the possibility of establishing an investment office to manage the College’s endowment, which currently stands at approximately $760M.

In updates on several building projects, the Board learned that the Kirby Sports Center Arena and McKelvy Garden projects are completed, and that construction of the Oechsle Center for Global Education is underway and on schedule. At the Williams Arts Campus, the interior construction of the Mohican building has begun and is expected to be completed by summer 2014. The plan includes media rooms, editing rooms, studio, rehearsal room, faculty offices, student lounge, and a conference room. The Board approved partial funding for needed renovation of the College-owned DKE house, with the remainder of the funds to be provided by DKE alumni and friends.

I expressed to the Board my great appreciation for the support I have received from them, and from the entire community during this transition.  My thanks to all of you.

Alison Byerly signature

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