Admissions: Admissions reports 682 new first-years, the largest class since 1978, are expected to enroll this week. The 36% increase in applications provided opportunities to craft the class and geographical diversity has increased, racial and ethnic diversity remain strong, and academic quality has increased. Details will be posted on the University Dashboard after the October 1 “snapshot” gives us reliable data. And student demand continues. This summer has seen significant increases in the number of rising high school seniors visiting campus for tours and interviews. June saw a 14% increase and July a 22% increase, boding well for future applications.
My remarks to the Class of 2019 at Matriculation are posted online: Minding the Mail in a College of Letters.
Comprehensive Campaign: Trustee Chair Jeff Boyd recently shared that the Board, at its meeting at in June, voted unanimously to commence planning for the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in University history. A comprehensive campaign raises money for endowment to establish professorships, scholarships, and new program opportunities, for campus facilities, for innovative projects, and for the annual St. Lawrence Fund. As is customary, the new campaign will have a period of quiet preparation before the public launch and will likely extend for five or more years. Over the past year, the University has worked with a national firm to measure the feasibility and depth of support for a campaign. Through detailed analysis, including interviews with trustees and others, we gained a sense of the philanthropic potential of the broader St. Lawrence community and the resources needed to tap that potential. One of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of the campaign process is identifying the programs and initiatives that can drive material improvement in admissions, student retention and outcomes, and in the University’s reputation, if adequate resources are available. We are engaged in an ongoing planning process to identify initiatives that will inspire the generosity of our community and “move the needle” for the University. This is an inclusive process involving students, faculty, staff, and the Board, benefiting from the good work of our Institutional Strategy and Assessment Committee and an updated Facilities Master Plan. Your big ideas are an essential part of the campaign and we look forward to finding ways to make them a reality.
Info Informals: We’ll continue our new tradition of “Info Informals” as a chance for faculty and staff to gather for brief presentations and, as important, casual conversation with one another. Plan to join us at 4 pm in Sykes Common Room, for ambience created by appropriate refreshments, on September 25, October 30, and November 20.
Libraries and Information Technology: Staff continues to upgrade ODY through the enVision ODY project funded by grants from the George I. Alden Trust and the Hearst Foundation. Two new classroom spaces were built this summer. The Frost-Ferguson classroom is configured with six tables accommodating six students each on the second floor. A glass-walled seminar space will be outfitted with a fourteen person conference table on the first floor. When not scheduled for instruction, these spaces will continue to be available for student study and collaboration.
One of the recommendations in the University Master Plan calls for the relocation of the support services in the Whitman Annex to the first floor of Madill Hall where many of the Information Technology department operations and people reside. This summer we have begun investigating the feasibility of relocating those IT operations and people from Madill to ODY library. The planning is incomplete, but very realistic. Preliminary plans will continue to take shape this fall semester with appropriate consultation of governance committees including ITC, ETC, Library & Art Gallery, and Buildings & Grounds.
As part of the New York Six consortium, we contract with GreyCastle Security, which assists the University in improving the security of our information systems and procedures, including technical practices and procedures, as well as internal information security training efforts. This summer, over 350 employees attended one or more GreyCastle lead workshops on information security awareness including, FERPA, Credit Card security, email Phishing, password management, and information security considerations when traveling internationally. Additional information security awareness efforts will continue throughout the academic year.
Significant optimizations of the Colleague & Recruiter enterprise systems have taken place over the summer and will continue into the fall. IT staff and external consultants have partnered with colleagues from Admissions, Registrar, and Institutional Research and beyond as we build out our reporting capabilities and continue to improve effectiveness of the newer systems replacing the Saints system. As many will recall, the Saints system evolved and improved over time after initial implementation, as will the current systems replacing it. More detailed information will be shared with the community via email around the start of the semester.
For the first time, the Green Bikes program extended through the summer with bikes available at Launders Science Library. The bikes have been loaned 150 times this summer and we are excited about the success and continued growth of the program.
University Communications: In July, multiple faculty and staff were quoted as resources in prominent media for their subject matter expertise on national policy issues and even trends in the college search process. http://www.stlawu.edu/news/national-media-turn-st-lawrence-faculty-exper...
University Advancement: Overall, cash gifts to the University in FY15, including new gifts and pledge payments, totaled $14,103,206. The St. Lawrence Fund (a subset of our total cash giving, which is made up of expendable gifts to fund operations from alumni, parents, and friends) raised $4,983,466, an increase of $239,523 and 5% over last year, and alumni participation held steady at 27%. We had increases this year in total gifts from Alumni, Parent, and Corporation and Foundation constituent groups. These resources are counted upon as one of three critical revenue sources for our annual budget, not extra beyond budget.
Trustee emeritus Dick Brush ’52 has provided the philanthropic support for us to finish the road work on the south and southeast corners of the Quad, on two sides of Dean Eaton. In touring campus and the Quad this spring, Dick could see the need to finish this road work and had a vision of providing a Gateway to the Quad from the center of campus. In honor of this gift and a new commitment for this year, the quad will be named in honor of Dick, to be called the Richard F. Brush ’52 Quad. Dick specifically wishes it be known that he is doing this in honor of his brother, Jack Brush ’50, and two lifelong St. Lawrence friends, Bill Caldwell ’50 and Bill Davis ’50.
This summer we offered 13 regional welcome receptions for the incoming Class of 2019 and their families in locations throughout the Northeast and hosted by members of the Parents Committee and alumni. A Presidential event for our North Country alumni, parents and friends was held in Clayton, NY. Other summer events included a reception in Charlotte, NC, our annual Saratoga Day at the Races event, a Boston Red Sox event and a Newport, RI reception. Upcoming events include a reception with Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Val Lehr in San Francisco, an annual Greenwich polo event and regional “Welcome to the City” events to welcome our newest graduates into the Alumni Association.
Finance: The University’s endowment as of June 30, 2015 returned (1.7%) for the month of June and +2.5% fiscal year to date. The market value of the endowment was $282 million as of June 30th.
Facilities: With a project list too long to enumerate in this memo, our staff has worked across campus to improve energy efficiency, replace or repair equipment, and refresh campus facilities for the fall semester. The Gateway to the Quad project is described already; Laurentians and visitors may appreciated new porches on many theme cottages and new roofs on several buildings, including Owen D. Young Library and Brewer Bookstore. St. Lawrence staff helped supervise the construction of the new porte cochere at the Best Western University Inn, a project that enhances safety and comfort for the Inn’s guests. A less visible project but one you’ll want to visit is the newly landscaped Dean-Eaton Courtyard, which offers a peaceful place for reflection for our students. Finally, thanks to donor generosity, the conference room in Augsbury is being renovated and will be dedicated at Homecoming to retired Director of Athletics Margie Strait.
Athletics: Director of Athletics Bob Durocher has begun a new Captains’ Initiative, a two-day retreat with team captains from our 32 sports. The program provided tools for effective leadership, a better understanding of Athletic department and University standards, and education and discussion of topics relevant to intercollegiate athletics and higher education. The men’s hockey team had its own abroad experience this summer, touring Italy and Switzerland and playing several exhibition games.
Health and Wellness Program: Last March, this initiative sponsored health biometric screenings for faculty and staff during the Campus Health and Wellness Fair. The screenings measured cholesterol levels, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, BMI and waist circumference. Some 209 employees participated in the screenings and learned their numbers. The results from the biometric screenings will help shape wellness initiatives on campus as it is important to provide programming relevant to the needs of our campus community. (Ignite Health, the company that provided the biometric screening service, reported these numbers in aggregate to the Health and Wellness Committee. Personal health information was not shared.) To view the full biometric screening summary report, please log onto the Health and Wellness website at http://www.stlawu.edu/live-better. The University will hold free biometric screening annually as we are committed to providing valuable health and wellness programming to our campus community.