News

April 14, 2014

Update From the Board of Trustees Meeting

President Alison Byerly emailed this message to the campus community today:

I write to update the campus community on the most recent meeting of the Board of Trustees.

On Friday, March 28, two hours were devoted to a special presentation on the vision, financial goals, and strategy of the College’s Capital Campaign.  A group that included Trustees, Board Associates, Leadership Council members, Alumni Association representatives, and faculty and staff who sit on board committees heard presentations by Steve Pryor, Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Capital Campaign; Barbara Levy, Trustee and Vice Chair of the Capital Campaign; and myself.  The Capital Campaign is a multi-year fundraising effort that will support three major objectives: (1) strengthening and highlighting Lafayette’s distinctive combination of liberal arts and engineering; (2) making Lafayette a leader in connecting in-class and out-of-class education; and (3) building a strong and diverse campus community. I am delighted to report that at the formal Board meeting on Saturday, the Board passed a motion approving the overall vision of the Capital Campaign, along with an ambitious goal of $400 million. Specific fundraising objectives will be defined in the coming weeks and months.

We expect to launch the public phase of the campaign in November in New York City, in conjunction with the festivities surrounding the 150th Lafayette-Lehigh game.  In addition to the game at Yankee Stadium, we are planning several days of activities in the city, including lectures, panels, receptions, and other events that will showcase all aspects of Lafayette.  More info can be found at the website Celebrate Lafayette in NYC:http://www.lafayette.edu/lafayette-in-nyc/  The game itself will bring thousands of alumni, parents, and friends to the city, and we believe this celebration of a great Lafayette tradition will provide a perfect launching pad for Lafayette to look to the future and enter the next phase of its upward trajectory.

The Board approved the awarding of three honorary degrees at Commencement on May 24, in addition to the degree that will be presented to the Commencement speaker, Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. The recipients will be Kevin Mandia ’92, Roger Ross Williams, and Harry L. Ettlinger. Complete information on these distinguished recipients can be found at:  http://www.lafayette.edu/about/news/2014/04/10/lafayette-will-award-four-honorary-degrees-at-commencement/

I also provided the Board with an update on the search processes to fill senior administrative positions at the College, as outlined in my memo of April 4.

As you know, this was a challenging budget year. The open meeting on the budget that many of you attended just before the board meeting outlined the major parameters of the 2014-5 budget, and the steps taken to achieve a balanced bottom line.  The budget was approved with an overall increase of 2.96%. Tuition and fees will increase by 3.69% from $57,050 to $59,155, and the financial aid budget will increase 5.81%. Average enrollment is projected to be 2,406, including 645 first-year and 17 transfer students. The number of entering first-years was increased in part to compensate for decreased numbers in the class of 2016, so there is not a net increase in overall enrollment.  The faculty salary pool was increased 3.40 % overall, with additional rollover funds tapped to provide an additional $1,000 for each assistant professor, in support of our efforts to improve our competitive standing in this rank.  The staff salary pool was increased 2.5%.

Other resolutions that were approved included  authorization to replace the turf on the field hockey field at Metzger Fields Athletic Complex, and confirmation of the selection of Joseph S. Bohrer as Chief Investment Officer for Lafayette, with an official start date of July 1.

The Board received and discussed the draft report of the Implementation and Assessment Group on Greek Life (IAGGL). The report will be shared and discussed with various campus committees, as well as shared with the community for open discussion and dialogue.  The Board will hear a report on the community response and feedback when they resume their discussions at the May meeting.

Finally, the board received an update on construction projects including the Oechsle Center for Global Education, scheduled to open in the fall, with classes starting in January, 2015; the interior construction of 248 Third Street, formerly known as the Mohican building, which is on schedule for classes to be held in the building in fall 2014; and the demolition of the old Case’s building, with geotechnical work now being done to finalize the replacement building’s foundation design. It is anticipated that a guaranteed maximum price for construction will be reviewed by the Board at their May meeting and that the project would be completed by fall 2015 and in use by spring 2016.

A highlight of the Board weekend was the Scholarship Dinner held on Friday night, at which students who have been awarded named scholarships were joined by donors whose gifts support those scholarships.  We are grateful to Jerry Turnauer ‘59 and Stacey-Anne Pearson ‘15 for their participation as guest speakers at this event, and to the many students who attended.  Everyone present was moved by the stories that were shared about the value of the Lafayette experience to students who have benefited from scholarship support. 

Thanks to all those who contributed to a very successful set of meetings, including colleagues in Plant Operations and Catering who supported these events.

Feel free to be in touch with me if you have questions about any of the above items.

Alison Byerly

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