Report from the Spring Meeting of the Board of Trustees | St. Lawrence University President's Office

Report from the Spring Meeting of the Board of Trustees

May 21, 2019

Dear Laurentian Friends:

The Spring meeting of the St. Lawrence Board of Trustees concluded Saturday, May 19, and many trustees joined us for the graduation of the Class of 2019. I hope you connected with trustees at the various all-campus events that celebrated a terrific class. Remarks from all speakers are posted online: https://www.stlawu.edu/commencement/commencement-2019-recap#texts

As always, our weekend meeting devoted time to a strategic issue of higher education.  Director of Athletics Bob Durocher and his coaching colleagues Franco Bari, Chris Wells, Fran Grembowicz, Mary Drueding, and Scott Denne led a discussion of our culture for student athletes.  We shared with trustees the integration of athletics in our liberal arts environment and the interconnection among all departments, especially admissions, with athletics.  Also in plenary session, we reviewed progress on the Campaign for Every Laurentian and previewed plans for the annual trustee retreat at Canaras, where we will focus on shared responsibilities for strategic budgeting.

Recognition of the exemplary careers of several Laurentians was a feature of the business meeting of the Board.  Term Trustees Gregory Ferrero’84, Barry Phelps’69 and Shel Johnson’68 and McCurdy/Sprague Trustees Christian Ehrhardt’07 and Morgan P. Baker’08 heard the accolades of their fellow trustees as they conclude their service, as did Vice President and Dean of Student Life Joe Tolliver, as he nears retirement.  The Board will welcome five new Term Trustee members on June 1:  Jeff Killeen’75, Mark Klett’74, Stephanie Luedke’94, Kathleen Welch’81 and Will Wilson’88.   New McCurdy/Sprague Trustees (selected from graduates of the last decade) Ashley Jeffress’13 and Oke McAndrews’10 also will join the Board on June 1, their terms will be four years. Our Communications office will share biographic information on these new trustees in the near future.

Several faculty colleagues received confirmation of tenure and/or promotion and we offer warm congratulations to them.  Effective September 1, the following members of the faculty will receive tenure and promotion to associate professor: Allison Rowland, Performance and Communication Arts and Kristin McKie, Government an African Studies.  Aileen O’Donoghue, Physics, was promoted to full professor rank. 

The committees of the Board, with student and faculty representatives present as always, had full agendas.  I’ll mention a few highlights for our community.  The Student Life Committee continues to learn more about and understand better our medical and counseling services for students.   The Promotion and Recruitment Committee focused on enrollment outcomes for the most recent yield cycle, which continues to date.  The days of the hard and fast May 1 deadline have passed and we continue to work with students individually to answer their questions. The Investment Committee heard a presentation from Divest SLU, asking that the BOT consider divesting its endowment from all assets related to the fossil fuel industry.  The Budget & Finance Committee reviewed and forwarded the FY20 operations budget to the full Board for approval and discussed a proposal by the Center for International and Intercultural Studies to reduce tuition for summer study-abroad programs.  Finally, the Academic Affairs Committee greeted representatives of two campus committees that have been researching future prospects for programmatic development:  ISAC, tasked this year with considering updating St. Lawrence’s Strategic Map, and as a starting point, imagining “SLU 2030” in all its dimensions, and the Student Retention working group on trends in student retention, and plans for improving student success and persistence toward graduation.

We now look forward to Reunion, May 30 – June 2, where we are set to celebrate milestone reunions including the 50th for the Class of 1969, as well as the 50th Anniversary of the Kappa Delta Sigma (KDS) sorority. I hope you’ll have a chance to see former students and families throughout the weekend.

Bill Fox