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St. Lawrence Year I Review:
From the President

As I write this, all of us involved in leadership at St. Lawrence are reflecting on and savoring the truly outstanding fund raising results achieved in 2005-06—$22.6 million cash total, the largest in our history by 20 percent.  Many people—trustees, alumni and parent volunteers, and staff—worked long and smart to get this to happen, but the underlying reason for this result is a level of generosity of spirit in the St. Lawrence family that is second to none.  Finding words adequate for expressing our deep and abiding thanks is very tough.  Those of you who made this happen inspire us all with your leadership, your generosity and your thoughtfulness.  Thank you, most warmly.

The beneficiaries of this outstanding philanthropy are, of course, our students and their education.  Our vision for excellence in their liberal education includes much continuity with the past—much that, if you are an alumnus, alumna or parent of a graduate, you will recognize from your time at St. Lawrence.  It also includes today a much-increased level of commitment to engaged learning by students that seeks constantly to push the envelope, to discover new ways to have an impact on each and every student in very personal ways.

By “engaged learning” I mean an education that involves high motivation to learn because the student is active in the learning process, not a passive recipient.  This kind of learning involves intensive student/faculty interaction in mentor/apprentice relationships; thoughtful planning and development of a learning strategy by students in consultation with their advisors to achieve personalized educational goals and objectives; a demanding course of study designed to provide knowledge and skills for a life of meaningful work and service; a commitment to lifelong learning; and the curiosity to explore new ideas and things not yet known.

You can see immediately, I think, how increased philanthropy helps make this happen.  An engaged learning environment presupposes a low student/faculty ratio; faculty commitment to frequent interaction with students; classes organized to maximize active learning; rich and diverse opportunities for students to do research both under the supervision of and sometimes in collaboration with faculty; a rich array of things to study and learn, including especially the opportunity for as many students as possible to study abroad and/or to learn from community-based learning experiences and off-campus internships; spaces for learning and living organized to support and facilitate engaged learning and the research and information technology and library resources required for access to new knowledge; and rich opportunities to learn informally from student peers selected for admission to St. Lawrence on the basis not only of their ability to take advantage of the opportunities we offer but also on the basis of what they can contribute to the learning of others, and who are enabled by a robust program of student financial aid to afford to attend St. Lawrence when their family financial resources are limited.

In the year just finished, philanthropy has provided us with new endowed professorships; spendable and endowed internships and study abroad funds; funds to construct and renovate student learning spaces and purchase needed research and information technology and library resources; spendable and endowed funds for student/faculty research; funds to expand our programs in community-based learning and in the arts; spendable and endowed funds to support our student financial aid program, which brings such wonderful student diversity to campus; and, through the St. Lawrence Fund especially, funds for general operating support that enable us to provide competitive salaries, pay the energy bills in a time of increasing energy costs and maintain one of the nation’s most beautiful university campuses.  This past year the St. Lawrence Fund grew by 9 percent to $4.8 million—another spectacular result!

Your gifts tell us that you believe what we are doing is essential for our students, our nation and the world.  The trust you place in us to do this great work means that we must approach it as a vocation, not just a job.  I can assure you that that is exactly our commitment.  We are humbled and deeply, deeply grateful for the funds you provide to make it possible.  You help make St. Lawrence the truly special place that it is.


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