Dear Colgate colleagues and friends,
Members of the Board of Trustees met on campus April 9-11, 2015, and participated in a series of informative sessions and events. Our time on campus coincided with Entrepreneur Weekend, as well as separate meetings of the Alumni Council and the Steering Committee of the Society of Families. The board interacted with many faculty, staff, students, alumni, and parents in different settings, and it is a pleasure to provide this summary of the activities, discussions, and outcomes of our sessions.
On Thursday evening, April 9, we joined many faculty and friends at the Colgate Inn to honor Karen Harpp, associate professor of geology and peace and conflict studies, who received the Jerome Balmuth Award for Teaching
for 2015. This award, funded by Mark S. Siegel ’73, to honor Jerome “Jerry” Balmuth, Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of philosophy and religion emeritus, recognizes the transformative teaching of our faculty. The event, hosted by Provost and Dean of the Faculty Douglas Hicks, provided a wonderful setting for trustees and faculty to connect, and it was delightful to see such a large group of Karen’s students and alumni present. Professor Harpp is an inspirational teacher and accomplished scholar, and she has used technology in creative ways to foster a truly exceptional learning environment.
On Friday, April 10, the Audit Committee met at 7:00 a.m. with representatives of KPMG, our university auditors. They reviewed the operational plan for the audit for fiscal year 2014-15. The committee also reviewed the university’s Enterprise Risk Management Plan and recommended that the board review some of the components in greater detail at its June meeting, including efforts to defend against cyber-security threats.
The board met in executive session Friday morning to receive a briefing from Michael Herling ’79, P’08,’10,’12, chair of the presidential search committee
. We also met with President Jeffrey Herbst and Interim–president elect Jill Harsin in order to discuss the presidential transition.
We conducted a working lunch session with our presidential search consultants from Spencer Stuart that included a discussion about the Presidential Search Statement
recently distributed to the community. The board noted that many campus constituents contributed helpful information and perspectives to guide its production. Please direct questions or suggestions to the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
and submit candidate recommendations to email@example.com
Our afternoon sessions included a meeting of the Budget Committee as well as a joint meeting of the Capital Assets and Student Affairs Committees. During those meetings, the board discussed the site recommendation for the new Career Services Center and learned more from Dean Suzy Nelson about the residential life communities that will launch this fall. We also received a summary of the Performing Arts Task Force Report
from Padma Kaimal, chair of the performing arts task force, and Dan Bouk and Jeff Bary, members of the performing arts task force. Following those meetings, board members participated in the Academic Ambassadors program, an initiative launched in spring 2014, which connects each trustee with an academic department or program. The basic goals of the program are for trustees to develop an understanding of the nature and substance of the work of the faculty and the issues they face, and for the faculty to learn about the board, as well as provide feedback and observations.
That evening, board members joined the capacity crowd in Cotterell Court for the Entrepreneur Weekend panel conversation and “Shark Tank” with students from the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute program
. The event was hosted by President Jeffrey Herbst and moderated by trustee Dan Rosensweig P’15,’17, chairman and chief executive officer of Chegg. We are also grateful for David Fialkow ’81, P’17, managing director, General Catalyst Partners, and Dan Rosensweig for recruiting the evening’s panelists. The program featured Jessica Alba, founder, The Honest Company; Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and chief executive officer, Warby Parker; Greg Coleman, president, BuzzFeed; MC Hammer, artist and entrepreneur; and Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and chief executive officer, Rent the Runway. The highlight, however, was the star quality of the presentations by the students, who were competing for seed capital for their entrepreneurial endeavors. That very successful event was followed by a reception and the Konosioni charity auction.
On Saturday, April 11, the board conducted its formal meeting. In addition to committee reports, we received an update about the accepted pool of students that will yield the Class of 2019 and an overview of the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute program. The board reviewed and approved the operating budget for 2015-16 and authorized expenditures for renovations to Colgate Memorial Chapel, James C. Colgate Hall, and the Sanford Fieldhouse. We also approved the development of a schematic design for a new student residence, which will be a cornerstone project for the residential learning communities in the Strategic Plan.
The next board meeting will be in Hamilton June 4-6, 2015. The board remains most grateful for your efforts in support of our students. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with any comments, questions, or suggestions.
Best regards from Colgate,
Denis F. Cronin '69, P'09, '10
Chair, Colgate Board of Trustees