Alumni Executive Council Virtual Business Meeting
June 12, 2022
President Sue North called the meeting to order at 11:08 am EST.
Following roll call by Secretary Laura Patrick, a quorum was documented.
Present: Bates, Baucom, Bennett, Blank, Borden, Boyer, Byrne, Cassidy, Cochran, Colton, Colucci,
Cruickshank, Danielson, DeCamp, Egbert, Francis, Frank, Friedlander, Giles, Green, Gross, Hann, Higgins,
Jenkins, Kelly, Lancaster, Larrabee, Levi, Lloyd, MacKenzie, Martin, McGee, McManus, McSweeney,
North, Patrick, Reyes, Russell, D. Ryan, M. Ryan, Slater, Smith, Wieland, Wilson, Zonitch
Not Present: Abernethy, Acuria, Bickford, Chung, Glass, Ireland, Johnson, Kallet, Merrell, Richman,
Russell, Santini, Stern, Wells, Willis
A motion to approve the 27 February 2021 Business Meeting minutes was made by Cheryl Gross and
seconded by Scott Giles. All approved.
President’s Report – Sue North
President North provided a brief update from the Board of Trustees (BOT) May meeting. It was reported
that the Admissions process went well with 641 deposits having been received by the time of the BOT
meeting. Florence Hines, VP for Enrollment Management & Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid,
thanked Council for our increased efforts in outreach (doubled from last year). She believes there has
been a positive response from admitted applicants. Steve Hietsch, VP for Finance & Administration,
shared that the University’s financial situation coming out of the last year is better than expected. At
the time of the May meeting, The Campaign for Every Laurentian was still $2 million shy of the $225
million goal. The Campaign ends on 6/30/21. The BOT has helped raise over 50% of these funds.
The Board of Trustees has passed a resolution to re-name Madill Hall in honor of Bill and Lynn Fox. See
https://www.stlawu.edu/news/university-renames-building-honor-bill-and-lynn-fox to read the
The Board will meet this month on-campus instead of Canaras.
AEC officers are finalizing the agenda for council’s meeting in Canton, July 15-17. Sue asked for
additional suggestions for Saturday afternoon activities. Volunteers to lead activities were requested.
A list of attendees for the July meeting will be sent out to help facilitate carpooling.
Campus Report – Kim Hissong
COVID Planning: Kim was happy to report that for the first time since March 2020, the University is operating under “Green” status. All activities are beginning to open up and get back to “normal.” Vaccinated students will not be required to undergo regular COVID testing once back on campus. All classes will be in-person with campus running a full slate of activities. 100% of staff will return to campus.
Campaign Progress and The Laurentian Celebration: Kim talked about The Laurentian Celebration scheduled for June 14-17. Programming is a combination of live and pre-recorded activities. 650 Laurentians have registered. The AEC is represented and will host two roundtable sessions featuring 2020 and 2021 Alumni Citation and Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service recipients. Also, scheduled is an announcement regarding The Campaign for Every Laurentian. Currently, the campaign is at $224,000 with a final push through 6/30/21 to achieve the targeted amount of $225 million.
There is still time to register for The Laurentian Celebration. If already registered, please be sure to log into Cadence to view and create your schedule.
Commencement 2020: Commencement for the Class of 2020 is still scheduled for August 1, 2021. Thus far, 250 students have signed up to come back. Each graduate will be allowed up to two guests. Saturday will provide a day of activities (Senior Day) and the commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday in Newell Field House. President North announced that she will be able to attend to congratulate the grads and distribute Alumni Association pins.
L. Patrick asked about athletics. Kim responded that at this time the athletics schedule should be back to a regular season schedule.
D. Smith asked about vaccination requirements. All students are required to be or provide documentation of a valid medical or religious exemption.
Student Delegate Report – Brianna Larrabee, Teal Borden, Alex Reyes, Jack Cruickshank
New student delegates each introduced themselves:
Brianna Larrabee is a Canton native who comes from a long line of St. Lawrence alums (grandparents, parents, siblings, and more). She is a Psychology and Communications Major. Brianna is currently working at two off-campus jobs – a car dealership and Stewart’s. On-campus activities include Community Assistant, KDS membership, lead usher at hockey games (“sweater girl”), and serving as an Admissions Ambassador.
Teal Borden is a rising senior majoring in English Writing and minoring in Education. She is currently enrolled in the summer semester remotely from her home in New Hampshire. Teal has worked in the Admissions office as an Ambassador, Summer Intern, and Senior Fellow. She has also been an Orientation Leader and a writing tutor for the WORD Studio and is a Health & Wellness Advocate. Teal is a recipient of funding from the Black Student Initiative for a research project on social justice.
Alex Reyes is a rising junior from the Bronx, NY majoring in Government and minoring in Education. He is the current VP of Senate Affairs of Thelmo. Alex is also a member of SLU Democrats, an Admissions Ambassador, HEOP scholar, and member of the Black Student Union. Thelmo continues to meet weekly during the summer focusing on ideas for the new Class of 2024 and getting students “back to normal”. A key focus is on mental health issues. Thelmo is also sponsoring Field Day this summer (today!).
Jack Cruickshank is currently on campus for the summer semester. He is a Performance & Communications Arts (PCA) major, minoring in History. On campus, he is an Orientation Leader, a weekly volunteer at Campus Kitchens, an editorial board member of The Underground, and was a fellow in the Civic Dialogue Fellowship program. While off campus this year, Jack was able to work for a technology company in the Boston area. While at SLU this summer, he is taking advantage of as much outdoor activity as possible while balancing an intense academic schedule (regular 15-week courses condensed into a 10-week time period!).
The focus of new business was the vote on the proposal presented on 5/26/21 by the Membership & Honors (M&H) Committee. Ed Higgins reviewed the proposal and rationale for extending officer terms and term extensions to AEC members whose second terms end in 2022. A written copy of the proposal was distributed to all AEC members after the 5/26 presentation. Gretchen Bates brought a question as to why term extensions wouldn’t be offered to all members.
A motion to support the proposal for officer and 2022 term completions was made by Dennis Ryan and seconded by Scott Giles. Kim H. then reviewed the process for the confidential Zoom voting. The vote was then held, approving the proposal with 92% voting YES, 8% voting NO, and 0% abstaining..
With regard to G. Bates’ question, Ed described the process and again reviewed the rationale behind the initial proposal. With a quick poll via Zoom reaction, M&H agreed there is enough interest in a blanket extension to look into the possibility and what it would take (change to by-laws?). Ed explained that the proposal just passed began with discussions back in the fall of 2020. Molly Hann requested that members forward any questions or comments on this topic to her.
Treasurer’s Report/Finance & Resources Committee – Paul Danielson
Paul Danielson made a brief report on the state of AEC finances. As a reminder, our fiscal year runs 1/1/21 – 12/31/21. Budgeted expenses continue to outpace revenue by approximately $14,000 annually, although current expenditures have been greatly reduced as a result of COVID. Currently booked YTD expenses are $744. We are still awaiting charges for some spring activities (gifts to Community Assistants, etc.). We also have yet to be credited with our annual $30,000 from the University, which typically comes in sometime in October. Beginning cash in 2020 was $32, 545 versus $39,351 in January 2021 confirming the expected reduction in budget overrun (closer to $7,000 than $14,000). D. Ryan asked if there was any concern with the AEC receiving the full $30,000 in October. Paul expressed his confidence that we would receive the funding as planned.
Efforts to increase AEC income and improve our cash position are being addressed by the Auction and Power of Connections task forces. The “rainy day” fund stands at $10,000, the internship endowment stands at $351,127, and the Power of Connections Endowment has current pledges of $157,477 (this fund will support non-internship programs like LINC, Connect, and Sophomore Bootcamp). Per Gary Zonitch, the task force is continuing to reach out to current and past AEC membership who have yet to make a pledge. Income from endowments is calculated based on cash-in-hand as of March 31st each year. The impact of these funds is a reduction to expenses, not a cash infusion to the budget.
Paige Friedlander was asked to share information regarding Auction efforts. She shared that efforts are underway and the targeted date is fall of 2022. The date has been pushed to enable focus on campus this fall to be on getting back to “normal” and welcoming our new President. The task force is looking forward to a very successful effort in 2022. Please direct any comments or suggestions re: the Auction to the task force chairs, Paige or Gary.
Committees should begin thinking about their budgets with requests being due in the September timeframe. The budget vote will be held in October during our on-campus business meeting.
Admissions – Scott Giles
Scott began by thanking everyone for their note writing efforts to accepted students. The committee and Admissions Office are confident it has made a difference in this year’s enrollment. This effort was particularly important this year as fewer than 20% of applicants had an opportunity to visit campus. Scott mentioned that high school counseling offices were challenged in supporting college applicants as there was needed focus on supporting virtual learning as well this year. The Admissions Office received feedback that St. Lawrence stood out as the school that provided coordinated outreach to accepted students. This spring’s note writing program was expanded with the help of current and form admissions ambassadors as well as broader group of alumni.
Other admissions-related information:
- Deposits for the fall semester came in earlier and at a faster rate than typical (admissions expects some “melt”)
- Transfers coming in at a higher rate than typical
- Retention among returning students higher than budgeted
- The tuition discount rate has remained level
- Bill Fox shared his thoughts on the positive impact of the AEC admissions note writing effort
- The Admissions Committee will be meeting with Florence Hines shortly
- The committee is continuing to explore efforts to “crowd source” outreach efforts to support the University
Advancement & Engagement – Carol Lancaster, Sally McSweeney and Randy Wilson
Sally McSweeney reported on behalf of Engagement. The committee is beginning to develop plans for off-campus events as things continue to re-open. They are also looking into bringing back some popular virtual events (such as wine tasting). Assuming Parents’ Weekend will be back on in the fall, hoping to hold the joint AEC/Parents’ Committee cocktail party. Engagement will also work to partner with Student Services to offer events on-campus. Joe Keniston would also like to engage more alums in growing the LINC mentor pool.
Carol Lancaster provided the Advancement update. They will continue to help with gift solicitations and continue the thank you note program. Advancement continues to look at leveraging affinity groups (clubs, sports teams, etc.) in fundraising efforts.
Communications & Marketing – Mary Baucom & Molly Ryan
As new committee chairs, Mary and Molly are excited and getting ramped up for their new leadership roles.
The University will be launching the newly designed website in July. The new format utilizes more templates making it easier to make changes and additions. Molly mentioned the AEC Social Media Guide and emphasized the need to ensure consistent messaging and sensitivity to our diverse alumni body when posting. Mary and Molly will be reviewing this guide during our meeting in Canton next month.
Membership & Honors – Molly Hann
Molly welcomed the new committee members and thanked all those who have worked hard this past year to identify and vet new council members. She also thanked the group for their work on the upcoming proposal and vote to extend officer terms for another year. The committee also identified and nominated this year’s award winners (Alumni Citations, Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service). The Doug Brown Award will be presented during Moving Up Day.
Student Services – Elizabeth Colucci and Cheryl Gross
Cheryl welcomed the new committee members.
Tarrah Price represented Student Services for the recognition of Community Assistants who have work so hard this year managing through the challenges of Covid-19. The AEC gift of a personalized blanket and thank you note received great feedback. At the end of April, Amanda Brewer and committee performed a “quick and dirty” evaluation of the Laurentian Connection platform. Amanda is working to make recommended changes. The Center for Career Services is currently undergoing several changes as a result of recommendations coming out of the Experience St. Lawrence Task Force including four new positions. More information will be forthcoming in July. Elizabeth added that the committee will continue to look for opportunities for programming that addresses the immediate needs of students on campus.
TASK FORCE REPORTS:
Affinities & Affiliations – Brian Abernethy and Mike Santini
Auction – Paige Friedlander and Gary Zonitch
Please see Paige’s comments in Treasurer’s Report/Finance & Resources Committee report. Paige also added that the task force will be developing an auction-related questionnaire to be sent out in the coming months.
Diversity & Inclusion – Sajana Blank
Sajana welcomed new and returning members representing all committees. The committee’s first effort will be to provide guidance in creating effective diversity statements. The group will be meeting next week.
Faculty Engagement – Anne McGrath
Anne was pleased to report that they had a very successful round of AEC members visiting classrooms in the early spring. Faculty members from an array of disciplines invited 4-5 AEC members to join a ZOOM class. This continues to be a successful and well-attended program. The task force is looking at developing a book/journal club highlighting the published work of faculty members to offer to the alumni body.
New York City Semester – Penn Egbert
Penn reported that the NYC program is expected to be back on in the fall. A critical part of this program is the opportunity for these students to participate in internships around the city. Identifying these opportunities has been increasingly challenging – workplaces have changed as a result of the pandemic. The program is hoping to identify smaller businesses/boutiques firms that may be able to offer intern positions. If anyone has suggestions or leads on internship possibilities, please reach out to Penn.
President North made a request for new business. No new business.
Stevie Michaelson made arrangements to have Barry Torres, Director of Music Ensembles, join us to help us with the singing of the Alma Mater. Barry provided us with a brief history of the school songs and then treated us with a beautiful recording of the Laurentian Singers performing Chapel Bells, Tribute, and our beloved Alma Mater. All agreed it was a vast improvement over our typical attempts of singing on our own.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:39 pm EST by President Sue North.
Notes submitted by Laura Patrick, Secretary.