Dear Colgate colleagues and friends,
The Board of Trustees met in Hamilton January 24-25, 2015 and I am pleased to share with you highlights from this productive time on campus.
Given President Herbst’s decision
not to renew his contract when it ends in June, we revised the format of the meeting to allow for significant time to discuss the presidential transition and search process. Trustees Michael Herling '79, P'08, '10, '12 and Brion Applegate '76 met with a number of faculty and staff to collect insights and suggestions for the search effort. In addition, the board met with Interim President-Elect Jill Harsin
to discuss the presidential transition and ways we can sustain the great momentum Colgate has enjoyed in recent years.
As the scope and complexity of our operations have increased, so has the board’s engagement with associated issues and opportunities to support students, faculty and staff, and to properly steward the university’s fiscal and capital resources. As a result, the board voted to modify its by-laws to add an additional vice chair as an officer of the board. Elected to this important role was Dan Hurwitz '86, P'17, joining existing vice chair Rob Kindler '76, P'04, '08, '12.
Senior staff provided very encouraging reports in their areas. Vice President and Dean of Admission Gary Ross '77 reported on solid application and enrollment data and trends for the Class of 2019, and Vice President Murray Decock '80 reported on positive year-end metrics in career services, alumni relations, and fundraising.
The Board also heard a collective update from Vice President and Dean of the College Suzy Nelson, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Doug Hicks, and Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity Lyn Rugg regarding their proactive efforts to build an increasingly inclusive campus. Trustees were pleased with the progress on the Colgate for All
initiative and various other campus climate efforts that are underway across the institution.
The Board enjoyed occasions to interact with faculty, staff, and students over the course of the weekend, including a dinner with faculty members involved in some of the projects discussed in the meetings on Saturday.
In official action, the board gave final approval for project costs to build the new Center for Art and Culture (CAC)
, to be located in the Village of Hamilton. This comes as a result of strong support, hard work, and dedication over four years by many faculty, staff, and trustees. The 17,000-square-foot structure designed by world-leading architect David Adjaye will allow us to show and store our collections from the Picker Art Gallery
and the Longyear Museum of Anthropology
, which will be a tremendous educational resource for Colgate’s curriculum, and for Hamilton and the surrounding region.
The board also authorized the purchase of property at 22 Utica Street in the village, which will connect to the CAC and will house a community room, CAC offices, and a new café.
Board action also included discussions and approvals for renovations to 100 Broad Street, Curtis Hall, and Drake Hall to prepare for the introduction of Colgate’s first residential learning community this fall.
The board also approved all project costs associated with the construction of a new Career Services building, which will be fully funded by donor contributions. Although the exact location is still to be determined, the building committee is working with architects representing the firm Ayers Saint Gross to review options based on community input and programmatic needs for this important student service.
The board approved the sale of a five-acre parcel of land
to Good Nature Farm Brewery & Tap Room, where it will construct new facilities intended to benefit members of the community, the university, the local economy, and tourism.
Finally, the board approved refinancing $43.7 million of outstanding debt to capitalize on current interest rates, which remain very low from a historical perspective. Savings from the transaction are projected to be approximately $6.9 million on a net present-value basis over the next 25 years.
The next board meeting will be held April 10–11, coinciding with both e-weekend and the next Alumni Council meeting. The weekend also will include the Balmuth Teaching Award dinner that recognizes the academic excellence and teaching talents of our faculty and is a highlight for trustees each spring.
The board remains most grateful, especially during this time of transition, for your efforts and the many ways in which you support our students through the liberal arts and creating an inclusive learning environment for all. Please contact me with any comments or questions.
Best regards from Colgate,
Denis F. Cronin '69, P'09, P'10