April 2016 Update

April  Update
President William L. Fox

 

Admissions:  March 18th we mailed admission decisions to those applicants who applied Regular Decision.  We have admitted 42% of our applicants, down from 46% last year, an indication of increased selectivity.  We look forward to hosting hundreds of admitted students and their family members at four Open House events in April.

University Communications:  The new digital edition of St. Lawrence magazine (http://www.stlawu.edu/magazine) launched this month, enabling readers to engage with enhanced content and share it online. As expected leading up to the mail drop date for Admissions letters, the University’s homepage saw increased traffic (up 2% over the previous two-week period) and longer average time on page (over 1 minute longer) by visitors between March 9 and March 22, supported by an integrated content strategy with Admissions across multiple social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat posts tallied more than 41,000 impressions between March 14 and March 18, the highest social media campaign reach this academic year.

University Advancement:   As of March 31, revenue (based on new gifts and new pledges) stands at $11.4 million towards our goal of $16.6 million goal for the year. We are well ahead of last year at this time.

The University hosted another successful Laurentian for Life week with highlights that featured student, alumni, faculty and staff engagement.   On Laurentians Give day, we announced our next short-term donor challenge, the 160-hour challenge, April 7 and through April 13.   In honor of our 160th anniversary, we challenge our Laurentian community of alumni, parents, students, faculty and staff with a goal of reaching 3,000 donors in 160 hours.   

Finance:  The endowment’s value as of February 29th was $252 million with a fiscal year to date return of (7.1%); our benchmark return was (7.8%), so while we lost value, we lost less than benchmark projections.  Market fluctuations over the last 9 months have had the same effect on all university and foundation endowments across the country.

Facilities:  Two years after Cole Reading Room was renovated into a quiet study space, Herring Library will receive renovations of its own, thanks to a generous donation last month by a Laurentian couple.  Herring Library is the older section of Herring-Cole building, the second-oldest building on campus, after Richardson Hall. Constructed of locally-quarried Potsdam sandstone, Herring Library was built in 1870. Named for its principal benefactor, a New York City safe manufacturer named Silas Herring, it replaced its predecessor, a room in Richardson Hall.  The project will be completed during the Fall 2016 semester. 

The Board’s University Properties committee has named an ad hoc coordinating committee of faculty, staff, students, and trustees to analyze and assess priorities for future major renovation or construction projects.  The committee will work with facilities planning consulting firm Sightlines to develop a data base of facilities needs incorporating the Facilities Master Plan, Strategic Map, Climate Action Plan, and the 2015 ISAC report on the student experience.

Summit on Affirmative Consent: Forty students and staff members from St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Union, and Colgate gathered on April 2 for a summit on the concept of “affirmative consent,” the standard by which colleges in New York State determine whether an act between two people constitutes a violation of Title IX.  Maya Williams’16 planned and led the summit as an independent study with Val Lehr and Lisa Cania.

Info Informal:  Our next campus Info Informal on Friday, April 15, will feature Justin Sipher and Dan Seaman, sharing the preliminary plans to relocate staff now using the Whitman Hall Annex to more permanent space, and the improvements to Madill Hall and Owen D. Young Library that will result from that transition.