February 2016 Update: Post Board Memo | St. Lawrence University President's Office

February 2016 Update: Post Board Memo

To: The St. Lawrence Community

The Winter meeting of the St. Lawrence Board of Trustees took place on campus February 25-27;  I write with a brief summary of our discussions and decisions.

As always, the meeting featured plenary sessions for trustees, delegates, and staff; this time we focused on two topics of national importance to American higher education.  First, as we consider diversity and inclusivity, trustees and delegates discussed the St. Lawrence initiatives and plans being developed since our commission’s report two years ago.  Second, we considered whether non-financial, social objectives should be considered in managing the University’s endowment, a question raised by students in the context of concern about climate change and investing in publically traded companies associated with fossil fuels.  Trustees joined our investment managers and representatives from the student DivestSLU club for a panel discussion.

We also enjoyed new opportunities for positive interactions between our faculty and trustees.  Pairing a faculty member with a trustee for lunch on Friday allowed both the chance to learn more about common aspirations for St. Lawrence. 

Highlights from our committee meetings included the examination of “deep-dive” questions such as “What will the campus look like in ten years?” or “With changing student populations, are we operating with the right residential life philosophy?”  As we always do at this time of year, trustees examined our most promising progress in recruiting for the Class of 2020. 

We discussed potential ideas emerging for the new comprehensive campaign, and learned that donors already have committed funds to renovate Herring Library.  We’ll begin work this spring, aiming to have the space open again in September. The donors are committed to having Herring Library match the Cole Reading Room in terms of quality, craftsmanship, and historical accuracy, creating a signature ceremonial space on campus and completing a critical piece of the restoration of the North Campus.

The Board also approved new majors that were endorsed by the faculty in November 2015; these will be submitted to the New York State Department of Education.  Finally, the trustees approved the comprehensive fee for 2016-2017 at a 3.6% increase, or $64,390.

I invite your questions at any time.

Bill Fox