Dear Laurentian Friends:
The Board of Trustees, with faculty, student and alumni delegates, met for its annual planning retreat last weekend, led by our new Chair of the Board Michael Ranger’80. The time allowed deep-dive discussion of topics intrinsic to planning for the University’s secure future. “Designing the Process of “Futurecasting” at St. Lawrence: A Map for the 2020s” was our theme. We opened the retreat with a presentation by Professor Nathan Grawe of Carlton College, author of the highly regarded recent book Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, who presented St. Lawrence-focused trends. Trustee Georgia Nugent, president emerita of Kenyon College, facilitated conversations that drew insights about the University’s values, strengths, and challenges.
In this context, participants then focused a longer lens and used the text from the chapter “Changing Higher Ed from the Classroom Up” by Cathy Davidson, in her book Change We Must.
Breakout groups discussed core strengths, suggestions for preparing students for the next decades, and new ways of learning. We’ll bring these ideas to our work on campus this fall, work that will start with the Faculty Council-Senior Staff shared retreat on August.
Two other topics received careful attention this past weekend. The first was materials for the fall public launch of the Campaign for Every Laurentian, and the second was the status of planning for the renovation of Appleton Arena. The Campaign includes an important goal related to the preservation and restoration of our heritage buildings. We engaged last fall the premier athletic facility planning firm HOK Architects of Kansas City. We now have a magnificent design that will preserve everything we love about the interior features, particularly the knotty-pine bench seating and the wood-slat barrel-vaulted ceiling. We’ve approached this project like restoring a cathedral. The lighting and sound system will see major improvements to allow for the high definition live-streaming broadcast of men’s and women’s hockey games.
The renewed Appleton Arena will also have training and preparation spaces for hockey, lacrosse, crew, softball, and field hockey athletes on par with top facilities anywhere in Canada or the U.S. and an extended, two-story south entrance that will give us many options for campus events and activities, even learning spaces. We have received significant donations for this project already. Trustees passed a resolution affirming their understanding of the project and approving further fundraising by staff and volunteers.
Trustees voted to honor retired colleagues Jeffery Boyd’78 and Eric Hansen’70 by naming them Chair Emeritus and Trustee Emeritus, respectively. Both completed their terms of service on May 31.
We also realized that an Executive Session action this past year should have been reported to campus; trustees approved an Employee Indemnification Policy, codifying our practice to offer “reasonable and fair assurance to employees who may experience real or threatened civil, criminal, or administrative action, claim or proceeding brought against them by reason of being an employee of the University or service as the University representative to an entity outside the University.” The Employee Indemnification Policy has been in effect at trustee direction since Canaras 2017.
Wishing you a productive and restorative summer.