September Monthly Update

Facilities Master Plan 
Although it will remain a “living document,” with changes and refinements expected in the many years to come, the Facilities Master plan is moving closer to being completed.  Our consultants, Saratoga Associates, have been working on the draft Master Plan since their update meetings with trustees and the campus in the summer.  Their focus has been to complete the studies associated with academic and administrative facilities.   In addition, their partner, Beardsley Design, has completed the facilities assessment and is working on conceptual cost estimates for any building renovations that Saratoga Associates will suggest to us.   We held several campus presentations of the draft this week and appreciate the thoughtful attention and comments we heard.  (The presentation and other information on the process, as well as a form for comments, are available at We now will work with Saratoga Associates for prepare a final draft for the Board of Trustees’ consideration in October.

Architect Selection Committee
As those of you who could attend the July forum with Saratoga Associates heard, the Board of Trustees accepted the preliminary recommendation that we should construct a new residence hall, to be open by fall 2014.  The Board commissioned a committee of trustees, faculty, students, staff and alumni to organize and develop its review of potential firms on a very time-sensitive schedule.  A report of the committee’s findings will include a careful analysis of comparative fees among the firms under consideration and a determination of the new building’s scope and capacity.  The question of a building site will be guided by the prior discussions around the new master plan as well as future advice from the new architect and a general contractor, to be selected this fall.   

The committee members are:

Trustee Emerita Mary Bijur ’65, P’91, co-chair 
Trustee Tom Saddlemire ’70, co-chair 
Trustee Andre Couture P’15 
Trustee Bill Crombie P’11 
Trustee Breanne Madigan ’03 
Trustee Sarah Redlich ’82 
Professor of Psychology Tom Greene 
Alli Shea ’13 
Alumni Council Member Lissa Short ’84, P’15, 
Director of Network Technologies James Mattice’93 
Vice President and Dean of Student Life Joe Tolliver 
Associate Vice President for University Advancement Tom Pynchon P’14
Chief Facilities Officer Dan Seaman, ex officio & staff coordinator, with Lisa Cania

Athletics Advisory Board
I have endorsed the recommendation of our colleagues in Intercollegiate Athletics to create a new Athletics Advisory Board of faculty, students and staff to improve the integration of academics and athletics and to enhance communication across campus on opportunities and challenges of our athletics program.  This new Athletics Advisory Board represents a best practice in the discipline; a number of our Liberty League peers have created such groups to very salutary effect.  I trust that the Advisory Board will assist our athletics director and me in the management of and planning for our programs. 

With appreciation of the time they will devote to this work, meeting several times each year, I share the names of the individuals who have agreed to serve on the Advisory Board. They are:  
Professor of History Liz Regosin, chair
Head Women’s Soccer Coach Franco Bari 
Greg Cary ’15
Professor of Geology Jeff Chiarenzelli ’81 
Associate Professor of Psychology Bill DeCoteau 
Professor of Economics and Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Allison Del Rossi 
Jamie Goldsmith ’13
Thelomathesian Society President R. John Montgomery ’14
Associate Professor of Psychology Cheryl Stuntz, faculty athletics representative 
Professor of Psychology Jim Wallace, faculty athletics representative
Director of Athletics Margie Strait will facilitate the meetings.

New Admissions Search Strategy
Historically St. Lawrence has conducted “searches” of high school sophomores and juniors, strategically purchasing names and encouraging students to respond in order to add to the inquiry pool.  The respondents help to enhance an inquiry pool that would otherwise by comprised of referrals from alumni, Board members, and coaches and from students and families self-initiating contact with us.  This summer we determined there are tens of thousands of high school seniors who are great matches for St. Lawrence and who did not make their information available when they were sophomores and juniors.  So, we are conducting a senior “search” to capture those students unknown to us and encouraging them to apply

Our preliminary data freeze shows these encouraging statistics:

Undergraduate Enrollment                         
2,401 headcount         
(+40 from Fall 2011)

Graduate enrollment                                     
72 headcount               
(+4 from Fall 2011)

Class of 2016                                                      
(-3 from Fall 2011)

(+1 from Fall 2010)

Undergraduate Diversity                              
11.4% (US)                              
6.7% (International)  

FY to Soph. Retention (prelim)          
(+2.6%  in Fall 2011) 

4-yr graduation rate                           
(76.4% in Fall 2011)

5-yr graduation rate                            
(79.3% in Fall 2011)

6-yr graduation rate                           
(80.3% in Fall 2011)

Fall Study Abroad                                    
(+39 from Fall 2011)

Rankings Update
St. Lawrence has again been rated as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by publications that annually rate and rank colleges and universities. U.S. News & World Report, which selects only 251 liberal arts institutions nationally, has us in a tie at the number 56 spot, placing us in the top 20 percent of our peer group, and names St. Lawrence as “an A-plus school for B students,” meaning that our environment allows students to find their niche and thrive. The Fiske Guide to Colleges, which selects only 300 four-year colleges in the United States, Canada and Great Britain to profile, included us and called St. Lawrence “a school on the rise.” The Princeton Review considers the University one of 220 institutions recommended as the “Best in the Northeast” and listed us as one of the Top 20 colleges with Best Food.

Sierra magazine only chose 96 institutions for its “cool schools” listing of colleges demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, and we are among them. Just 650 of the nation’s colleges, including St. Lawrence, made the Forbes magazine list of “America's Top Colleges,” which “focuses on educational outcomes, not reputations.” places St. Lawrence on the list of the 52 colleges in America with the best food, and a new ranking, which ranks schools according to student enrollment decisions, has St. Lawrence as 11th among liberal arts colleges and 28th overall among all universities. used the rates by which students accepted offers of admissions as their basis of this rating, indicating perceived value and demand.

University fundraising goals for the year have been set for our major areas. Overall, we have a University goal of $16 million dollars in private support.  Within that overall total, the St. Lawrence Fund, which is our expendable fund and supports the University’s operating budget, has a goal of $5.2 million, with an alumni participation goal of 31%.  The philanthropic support we receive from faculty, staff, alumni, students, and volunteers of St. Lawrence serves as a vote of confidence in our daily work on behalf of the University.

Over 175 Beta Theta Pi alumni returned to campus last weekend for our first fraternity affinity reunion.  By all measures, the event succeeded.  Tomorrow we welcome back St. Lawrence families for Family Weekend.   One essential activity is a meeting of the Parents Committee, whose members learn more about campus programs, which helps them with their contacts to other parents. We have over 100 Parent Committee members who volunteer their time to help with fundraising, career services, admissions work, and general outreach, providing an invaluable service to the University.

We are fast approaching the “go live” date of our new database system, The Raiser’s Edge, and close on the heels of that, the University’s new online alumni community.  Colleagues from across campus have been attending Learning Lab sessions to learn how to navigate the system for their purposes.  As noted in an earlier email to the campus community, the development/alumni portion of SAINTS is no longer being updated after September 20, and The Raiser’s Edge should be live by October 8.  The public launch of the new my St. Lawrence is expected the last week in October.  These events are the fruition of a year-long collaboration between Information Technology and University Advancement staff, with assistance from University Communications.  We look forward to putting these systems to work to help us achieve the engagement and fundraising goals of “The St. Lawrence Promise.”

The website redesign, led by University Communications and Information Technology and informed by a campus-wide advisory group, continues to progress. Communications has started meeting with departments that will move to the Drupal content management system for the first time, helping them to organize and prepare their content for migration. The process of training members of those departments in how to use the new system is being developed for later this fall. Departments already in an earlier version of Drupal will hear soon from Communications on how the process will work for them. The design phase continues to evolve with our partner firms, Trellon and IE Design and Communications, on both the look and feel of the site, as well as the structure of the content management system. Our projected launch will be January 2013.

Libraries and Information Technology
The libraries received $8,297 in grant funding from the Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN) in support of the Color Management for Digital Collections project.  This grant will aid efforts to digitize our book arts collection, which includes about 350 rare works, from European illuminated manuscripts of the medieval era to Ethiopian parchment scrolls and Japanese accordion-fold books.  When the project is completed, the collection of digital images will be exhibited online and available to the public.

A summer partnership between Libraries and IT resulted in over 70 additional locations with electrical power outlets throughout the ODY Library.  With more students bringing portable electronic devices, the need for additional power outlets was significant.  This project improves the effectiveness of the ODY Library for the student body.