In this year-end update, we’ll share news from the June planning meeting of the Board of Trustees as well as news of events and progress since Commencement.
Trustee Retreat: The trustees’ time at Canaras, June 24-26, focused on further planning for our comprehensive fundraising campaign. Hearing first from an ad hoc coordinating committee on major capital (facilities) priorities, participants learned about an informal summer planning team of “program shepherds” led by Professor Tom Greene, who will share the work with the campus in the fall. We then expanded our understanding of some representative “Big Ideas” that have already been shared on campus in governance committees and informal discussions, invited perspective to enhance and develop our campaign messages and tools, and agreed on specific actions for our work ahead. In small group discussions, retreat participants discussed five examples of big ideas (entrepreneurship, Connect SLU, Business in the Liberal Arts, the Sophomore Experience, and endowing what we already do so well) to imagine ways these and other ideas could be developed and communicated for donor interest. As we finish our first year of quiet campaign preparation, St. Lawrence has nearly $60 million in gift commitments, a fine start by all measures and comparisons. Trustees also used the occasion to recognize the work of Valerie Lehr, who returns to the faculty on July 1 after nine years as our Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, and to welcome Karl Schonberg, who begins his tenure in that role.
The Class of 2020: Admissions reports 576 first-year students will join the Laurentian community, as will 29 transfer students, for a total of 605 new students. They represent strong academic preparation, with 46% graduating in the top 10% of their class, an average high school grade point average of 91, and a median SAT of 1820. They will attend St. Lawrence from 35 states and 26 nations, the highest numbers of the past decade. We expect 16% of them will be St. Lawrence legacies (family members of students or alumni). We continue to send Dean Jeff Rickey well wishes on his medical leave of absence.
New Trustee Elected: The Board of Trustees elected Tim Simpson ’80 for a six-year term that begins July 1. Tim, an attorney, is executive vice president of the Covanta Holding Company and has been an active Laurentian volunteer in career advising, Reunion fundraising, Laurentians in Residence, and the Parents Committee, as the father of Molly Simpson’13.
Reunion: Over 850 Laurentians returned to campus to celebrate Reunion Weekend 2016, with approximately 240 alumni volunteers helping to make it the best in University history. Together, our 16 milestone classes pledged and donated a combined total of $26 million, setting a new Reunion fundraising record. Alumni Citations went to Hulit Pressley Taylor ’61, Barbara Gulbrandsen Hennessy ’73, Anne McGrath McManus ’75 and Christopher Spitzmiller ’94. Tom Sy ’82 received the Sol Feinstone Humanitarian Award and Rick Beyer ’66 accepted the Manley Society Achievement Award. My remarks to the annual Alumni Association gathering are posted online: More Than Strictly Social.
Athletics: St. Lawrence University finished #39 in the National Learfield Cup standings and #5 in the New York State rankings. St. Lawrence University was the top ranked Liberty League University.
(The Learfield Cup ranks athletic excellence with a group of over 350 universities throughout the country.) As we reviewed the accomplishments of the past academic year, we noted that 172 athletes earned Liberty League or All-conference academic honors; 44 athletes are new members of Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society and nine senior athletes became members of Phi Beta Kappa.
Facilities: St. Lawrence University was named a top-50 college on the National Register of Historic Places by the ranking service Best College Reviews. Herring-Cole, Richardson Hall and the St. Lawrence University-Old Campus Historic District are all listed separately on the National Register. With support by devoted Laurentians, the Cole Reading Room underwent renovations in 2014, restoring it to a quiet study area. Herring Library, the older section of Herring-Cole Hall, will undergo renovations during the summer of 2016, also thanks to donor support. It will provide “heritage” space for ceremonies, special events, readings, and lectures.
Finance: As of May 31, 2016 the University’s endowment returned + 0.4% for May and (1.6%) fiscal year to date. The value of the endowment at May 31st was $268 million.