November Monthly Update for Campus
William L. Fox
St. Lawrence trustees monitor indicators of institutional strength by review of a Dashboard that is updated annually, or for some indicators, more often. The annual update of the Dashboard is now posted to the Institutional Research web site and available to employees who log on from a campus connection. Please visit http://www.stlawu.edu/ir/benchmarks to review the latest information that we shared with the Board at its Fall meeting.
Gunnison Renovation and Restoration
A spontaneous standing ovation and a resolution of thanks greeted Fire Chief Bob Crowe and a few student members of the Canton Fire Department at the meeting of St. Lawrence trustees on October 26. Their skillful, heroic work to save Gunnison Chapel will never be forgotten. The Canton aerial unit that was instrumental in fighting the fire was purchased by the university for the village a few years ago. Cleaning, repair, and restoration of Gunnison Chapel are now underway; the artistry and distinctive craftsmanship required for this project means we will need ample time, undoubtedly the rest of the academic year, to ensure the highest quality work. As already announced, the Candlelight Service will take place in Leithead Field House on December 11. Alternative plans for other events held traditionally in the Chapel are being developed and will be shared promptly.
Residence Hall Construction
The new residence hall, on schedule for occupancy by August 2014, has been progressing nicely due to favorable weather conditions. In the next week or two, the standing seam metal roof will be installed, finishing the roofing system. The exterior stone work is nearly complete. The windows are on site, and we expect to have all of them installed by the beginning of December to meet our deadline of having the envelope of the building completely closed in by December 1, enabling work through the winter months. Temporary heat will provide warm working conditions for installing electrical conduit and circuits, plumbing and mechanical piping, and ductwork. Light metal framing has begun, shaping many of the rooms on the first level. We have completed the geothermal well drilling, and the piping from the wells to the building is being excavated and installed. Soon the well field and piping will be covered with a minimum of five feet of soil and graded to blend in with the area surrounding the building. Underground utility lines to the building are being completed, as well as the storm drainage systems
October’s campus visits by prospective students represented the fifth consecutive month of increases in visitors, compared to last year. Evidence of the impact of those visits is the fact we are up 1% in submitted applications over a year ago, despite all of the challenges students are experiencing with the new version of the Common Application, St. Lawrence’s exclusive source.
Two more national publications have recently listed St. Lawrence as a top university, highlighting our value and commitment to access. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked St. Lawrence number 67 in its list of “Best Values in Private Liberal Arts Colleges,” up from 73 last year. Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report named St. Lawrence among the nation’s 23 “Top Performers,” among all colleges and universities, in graduating low-income students.
University Communications has added a “Media Room” to the website where you may view various university and student-produced videos featuring students, faculty and alumni. The site (www.stlawu.edu/media-room) sorts the videos by views and includes a search feature.
As of November 1, gifts to the St. Lawrence Fund total $922,850, up $236,495 over last year at this time. Fundraising for the new residence hall remains our top capital priority, with more than $6 million in commitments raised to date. The New Construction Gift Committee of the Board of Trustees is taking the lead in soliciting gifts to support this project, while also facilitating Residence Hall “Dinner and Dialogue” events. The most recent dinner events were hosted by Trustee Donna Winston ’85, in Locust Valley, NY and Willy Walker ’89 in Washington, DC.
Our Laurentian Women’s Initiative events continue as a way to bring women leaders together and to further engage them with the University through volunteer opportunities. Our most recent events in Darien, CT, NYC, and Boston featured Margie Strait, Valerie Lehr, and/or Cathy Tedford, respectively.
Homecoming welcomed over 500 alumni and guests to campus for a fall weekend filled with athletic competitions, an a capella concert, affinity gatherings for ODK and University bell ringers, and Hall of Fame activities. Planning is well underway for Reunion 2014 (May 29-June 1, 2014) with two affinity reunions – the France program’s 50th anniversary and the Kenya program’s 40th anniversary.
Peter Bailey led our recent online Laurentian Lecture “Midnight in Paris, Rome and San Francisco: Woody Allen’s Latest Films.” Matthew Carotenuto will lead a November 19 lecture on “Deconstructing “Tribe” and the Politics of Ethnicity in Kenya.” The feedback on these lectures has been extremely positive, with Laurentians all across the globe welcoming this opportunity to be back in the (virtual) classroom. For more information visit: https://alumni.stlawu.edu/laurentianlectures
As we continue to expand and measure Laurentian engagement, we encourage faculty and staff to use the online faculty/staff engagement forms to document the types of interactions you are having with alumni and to take advantage of your University Advancement liaison as a resource. Visit https://alumni.stlawu.edu/fac-staff_engagement to share information.
Open Access Scholarly Communications
In late October, colleagues from Libraries & Information Technology and Academic Affairs led a faculty discussion about the open access movement within the world of scholarly publishing. This is a follow up to the session held at May College 2013. There are serious concerns about the long term viability (for colleges and universities) of the current model by which institutions purchase or license scholarship produced and validated by members of the academy. A growing number of institutions are endorsing open access in an effort to create a more financially sustainable model for the production and consumption of faculty scholarship. You can learn more about this topic at our website: http://www.stlawu.edu/library/open-access.
St. Lawrence partners with the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative to create a Health and Wellness Committee to support and promote healthier lifestyles on campus. The committee has been meeting since late August to consider best ways to meet the health and wellness needs of our campus community. Before implementing any such initiatives, the committee is interested in receiving feedback from the campus. Please take a moment to complete the online survey from the Committee; your opinion will help insure the health and wellness initiatives are a success and you will have a chance to win one of five $25 Amazon gift cards for participating.