Alumni Executive Council Business Meeting Minutes
September 17, 2017
President Forbes called the meeting to order at 8:30 am.
Ms. North called the roll:
Members present: Armstrong, Beyer, Catlin, *Chatterjee, Cochran, Colucci, Danielson, *Egbert, *Faulkner, Forbes, Hann, Hansen, *Hughes, Ireland, Jenkins, Jennings, Kadick, *Lawler, Lee, Lloyd, MacBrayne, McKee, McManus, *McSweeney, *Murray, North, O’Connor, Patrick, Peterson, Price, Rood, Russell, Dennis Ryan, *Santini, *Scuteri, Sullivan, Taylor, Terrillion, Thomson, Twombly, Wheeler
(*denotes that the member wasn’t present for the business meeting but was present throughout the weekend or by phone for the business meeting)
Members absent: Abernethy, Chrzanowski-Sears, Dana, Hallock, Kallet, Molly Ryan, Sethness
President Forbes declared a quorum was present for the conduct of business. President Forbes called for motion to approve minutes for Canaras meeting of 11 June 2017. A motion to accept the minutes was put forth by Mr. Rood, seconded by Mr. Jenkins. Approved unanimously.
President Forbes noted that he’d heard some feedback from Council members that the weekend’s schedule was too long. Still, there was a celebratory mood on campus, he said, and applauded a record-breaking Homecoming attendance of more than 800.
President Forbes thanked the Council members present and those on the teleconference for their time and commitment.
President Forbes mentioned his role as a member of the search committee for the next Vice President for University Communications — the University is working to replace Melissa Farmer Richards, who resigned in June. The search committee, President Forbes said, was to meet later in September by teleconference and at the October board meeting. President Forbes invited the Council’s perspective and input as he wanted to represent alumni views in a broad way in his work as a member of the search committee.
President Forbes thanked Kim Hissong and Brandy Sanderson for their efforts in organizing an excellent weekend. Those thanks were met with applause from the body.
President Forbes closed his report by reminding the Council that he hoped for an energetic pipeline of candidates for the next slate of offices.
Ms. Hissong gave a staffing update. We sadly lost Mrs. June M. Peoples, Advancement Communications Writer, due to a car-pedestrian accident in December of last year. We paused on a search for a short period of time and began searching again this spring. Jonathan Brown is the new writer joining in late September. He worked in the Clarkson Advancement office as a content developer and storyteller and is a host on NCPR Saturday’s morning radio. He will be responsible for campaign and advancement communications. There are a couple of other staff vacancies in Advancement including the Associate Director of Reunion Planning, Associate Director of Reunion Development and two administrative secretary positions. Ms. Hissong noted that there is a University Magazine refresh resulting in a slight change in look - different size, treatment of photography, bound instead of stapled, etc. The University has issued a press release for receiving a $100,000 Energy Master Plan Grant for planning and a student internship. Mr. Ryan Kmetz, Assistant Director, Sustainability, will be involved. Look at the press release. Ms. Hansen suggested Brendan McLaughlin get involved due to his engineering and experience working with a University plant project in the past.
The student delegates (Ms. Catlin, Ms. Ireland, Ms. Jennings, Ms. Price, and Mr. Wheeler) expressed their love for the weekend and Council. The delegates cited understaffing of dining staff as a problem. The Pub is closed for dinner. Student Alumni Association (SAA) members enjoyed talking to us and serving pizza. In addition, laundry machines were replaced. Some hydration stations were installed, the students are asking for more hydration stations which cost $1000 each.
Ms. Hissong mentioned more comments on dining staff. The drop in part time staffing availability is a regional issue. While each union is in contract negotiation, there has not been a strike. To prioritize student accessibility to dining services, faculty and staff have been asked to limit using dining services until resources improve and to think creatively about off-campus catering. President Forbes will unpack issues, clarify the problem and reach back out to Council.
See attached slide for details. Treasurer Terrillion noted that no new news was there and that she would go through details for the budget process for 2018 in the Finance Committee report.
Dr. MacBrayne gave the Admissions Committee report. Jeremy Freeman joined the Committee meeting by phone as he was attending an annual national conference in Boston. Among other things, Jeremy reported that this year’s class of 1st year students was the largest ever at 698 (plus 20 transfers). The class is academically sound with a higher GPA and higher SAT/ACT scores compared to last year (58% reported their SAT/ACT scores). 14% are domestic students of color, 9% are international, 46% are male and 256 are student athletes (up from 179 the previous year). Pricing continues to be very important and this year there were 338 financial aid appeals. Jeremy explained that the biggest difference in the recruiting process for this record-breaking class was, in large part, due to the adoption of a new CRM system, Slate. Admissions is also looking closely at Social Media as high school students live on their phones. Website improvement is also a focus as students want campus shots of the nice seasons. There is a consideration to spruce up the Admissions Building furniture.
It was reported that the position of VP for Admissions and Financial Aid has not yet been filled and Melissa Farmer Richards, who had been overseeing the departments, is no longer at SLU. The Enrollment Specialist who had been hired to help manage the department during this interim period has increased her time commitment to assist. In addition, a full-time position has been added to help manage the CRM system.
The Admissions Committee assists with both recruitment and yield events.
Admissions is trying to recruit more young alumni to serve as Laurentian Admissions Associates (LAA) so as the AEC continues to assist in identifying new volunteers, it would be very helpful to keep this role in mind. In addition, there was some initial discussion of having AEC members serve as liaisons with LAA volunteers. Since many of the LAA do not get to campus often, AEC members could serve to keep them apprised of what’s new on campus.
AEC members can also assist by serving as “hosts” at off-campus interview sites, greeting students and parents and talking with parents while the students are being interviewed. More specific information on this will be forthcoming soon. Meanwhile, information on the location and dates of off campus interviews can be found at: https://apply.stlawu.edu/portal/off_campus_interview
With regard to yield activities, a very successful Accepted Student event was held in Connecticut last spring and will be repeated again this year, at the end of March or early April. This event included accepted students, committed students (Early Acceptance), Admissions staff, current SLU students and Alumni including three AEC Members and Trustees. This year, an additional event is in the early planning stages for Boston. A planning group consisting of Admissions staff and AEC members will pursue this. AEC members are encouraged to participate in these events. In the past, AEC has assisted by sending handwritten notes to accepted students and assistance will be requested again this spring. A suggestion was made that AEC might also assist by writing to accepted recruited athletes.
There were several additional ideas discussed at the meeting, including the desire to schedule time at the next AEC meeting for Admissions staff and AEC to get to know one another better, especially those in the same geographic region. Also, it is the belief of some Committee members that the Admissions Office downstairs is in need of painting and updating as this is the first impression of campus for many students and their families.
Ms. Lloyd reported that the committee meeting included guests: VP North and Emerita Member Pat May in addition, 3 Emeritus Members were on the phone. Tom Pynchon provided an update on the Campaign for Every Laurentian: $110MM in gifts and commitments are in hand, Tom hopes to have $172mm by the time of our kick off which is what the last campaign ended with.
The Annual Fund FY 2017 participation rate was 26% vs. 2016 at 27%. If we had all of the donors who gave in the last three years, we would have 40% participation rate. Data shows many universities were down in participation in FY17. Once the data is reviewed at the end of September, Barbara Knauf, Director of Annual Giving, and her team will access why the drop occurred across peer schools. Ms. Lloyd reported good news is that the youngest 10 Class years moved from 23 to 26%; a positive sign of our culture of giving.
Homecoming was a hit – there were almost 800 registrants, up from 500 in the past. Ms. Lloyd thanked the SAA for helping at the tailgate tent and pizza handout. There are two big projects that A&E is focused upon – first the 1856 challenge in April. A&E is
continuing to discuss a Council sponsored donor challenge. How does Council want to move the needle? Ms. Lloyd asked to please share thoughts with her or others on the A&E committee. Secondly, A&E is working with Mr. Pynchon on how Council will be involved with the campaign kickoff next fall. They are thinking ahead - there will likely be a dinner celebration and they are considering an Alumni panel. Ms. Lloyd asked Council to please bring forward other ideas. They are gearing up for the Fall Appeal Letter which is a targeted letter that will be signed by reunion chairs for their cluster, and other volunteers for non-reunion class years. She thanked Mr. Egbert, Mr. Twombly, Mr. Santini, Mr. Taylor, Ms. Schroeder, and Mr. Ryan for covering their decades.
Class reporters are needed for the following classes: 1993, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001 and 2004. Ms. Lloyd thanked Council for the help with the thank you letters and volunteer screening.
Mr. Rood stressed that Finance & Resources is committed to increase participation rate. There will be an F&R liaison to each Committee. Mr. Rood reported that we are solvent for the 2017 and the 2018 budgets. Further, he emphasized the importance of the AEC Internship Endowment as a source of new funding to the University, and the importance of our good stewardship of the assets that SLU has allocated to AEC. He pointed out that the critical measurement of effectiveness for AEC is our role in the improvement of the APR (Alumni Participation Rate). He speculated that an improvement in APR resulting from our efforts could justify a greater monetary allocation to the AEC from the University. Treasurer Terrillion walked Council through the 2018 budget process ground-rules and approval process timeline. A budget request template/form must be submitted for all requests and must be aligned with the AEC Mission, goals and objectives.
Treasurer Terrillion noted a few key dates for the budget process: requests are due Oct 31st to the Finance & Resources Committee and a recommended budget will be sent to Council by Dec 1st for vote in the December teleconference meeting.
Mr. Lee encouraged continued AEC Member nominations especially in the next two weeks prior to the Committee going to work on vacancies. Deadline for nominations has passed, but there are still opportunities to nominate. They are delaying Committee screenings 2 weeks; think about additional nominations and get them in – M&H is filling 10 vacancies. Mr. Lee reiterated that we are looking for a substantive and thoughtful nomination and asked to use the online nomination form. The officer election process has already been covered. M&H is currently taking nominations for both the Sol Feinstone Humanitarian Award and Alumni Citations. These awards are high profile and past recipients include many current and former Council Members and Trustees.
Our current Council and Board recipients include Anne McGrath McManus ’75 (Council) and Don Rose ’64 (Trustee). Former Trustee recipients include John Loughlin ’79 (also former Council), Jim Brush ’77 and Ken Okoth ’01. Former Council Member recipients include Pris Harvey Schroeder ’56, Lennie McKinnon ’58, Ruth Carling Budlong ’58, Hulit Pressley Taylor ’61, Varrick Chittenden ’63, Kevin Arquit ’75, Daniel Bisaccio ’76, Trudy Hall ’77, Tom Sy ’82 and Russ Czerw ’83. Mr. Lee confirmed that M&H does not weigh for high profile. Mr. Lee will send out the nominee link, officer nomination link and nomination link for Sol Feinstone and Alumni Citations.
Student Services Report
Ms. Kadick thanked Council for their participation in Career Conversations and LINC mentorships. She mentioned that Mock Interviews were intimidating and that’s why they switched the format from Mock Interviews to Career Conversations. Laurentians in Residence is scheduled for Oct 26 – Council has been a long-time supporter of this program through funding. A Mocktail is typically held during the Winter meeting, however, they have plans to change and update that program. The Junior/Senior Dinner will be held October 19 during the Board of Trustees weekend – typically one AEC Member (when meeting schedules align) or Board Member is at each table.
No old business was discussed
No new business was discussed
Ms. Hissong asked Council members to pick up a large packet of thank you notes and stamps. She will be requesting help to acknowledge donors below $500. It’s a mix of donors at that level. The Board of Trustees acknowledges gifts of $5k and above.
The Alma Mater was sung. Ms. Hansen suggested to Mr. Lee that Laurentian Singers should be considered in the AEC Member recruitment process.
A motion to adjourn was put forth by Mr. Rood, seconded by Mr. Twombly.
Meeting was adjourned by Mr. Forbes at 9:42 am.
Minutes submitted by Treasurer Cortney Terrillion for Secretary Neil Chatterjee