Dear Colgate Colleagues and Friends,
I am delighted to share with you my report on the spring Board of Trustees meeting and participation in university events. Board members were on campus April 4-6 and enjoyed multiple opportunities to experience the energy and commitment of inspiring faculty, dedicated staff, and talented students. We also gained insights and perspectives from two wonderful outside speakers while also connecting with alumni and parents engaged in the Entrepreneur Weekend.
On Thursday evening, April 4th, we joined many faculty and friends at the Colgate Inn to see Margaret Maurer, William Henry Crawshaw Professor of Literature, receive the Jerome Balmuth Award for Teaching for 2013. This award, funded by Mark S. Siegel ’73 in honor of Professor Emeritus Jerome “Jerry” Balmuth, recognizes the excellence of our faculty. Margaret’s remarks displayed the talent, grace, humor and commitment that has led to her high esteem and endeared her to so many during her Colgate career. It was especially gratifying to see many of her former students join in the celebration.
Friday morning’s schedule began with a meeting of the Audit Committee which included representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers, who reviewed plans for conducting Colgate’s annual fiscal audit, discussed ideas for the development of document retention and destruction policies, and reviewed the administration’s report on enterprise risk management issues. That meeting was followed by a presentation by Brian Lemanski ’14 describing a joint project with fellow student Srikar Gullapalli ’13 on religiousness and pollution in the Ganges River in India, completed with support from Colgate and the National Geographic Society. Srikar, one of two Colgate students who earned a prestigious Watson Fellowship this year, was in San Francisco for a conference. It was an impressive demonstration of the scope and quality of our students’ academic interests and the support they receive from Colgate’s faculty and administration.
Board members attended the Academic and Faculty Affairs Committee and Student Affairs Committee meetings that reviewed the current drafts of two strategic plan working group reports. Associate Professor of Religion Eliza Kent and Associate Professor of Economics Nicole Simpson provided insights about the “International and Global Initiatives” working group. Associate Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies and Director of Jewish Studies Lesleigh Cushing and Associate Professor of Psychology Spencer Kelly summarized the efforts to date of the “Living the Liberal Arts” working group. The board was not asked to act on the initiatives but members affirmed the strategic direction emerging from both reports. These reports, together with the reports to be received by the board in June on “Teaching and Technology” and “Campus Master Planning” and the reports previously received on “Academic Excellence,” “Athletics,” and “Rightsizing,” will be considered as a whole by the board in June, over the summer and at the October board meeting.
The Capital Assets Committee met to review the current architectural plans for the proposed Center for Art and Culture. No formal action was required but board members endorsed the design ideas that were presented and the university will continue to take the necessary steps, including important work with the Village of Hamilton, to make this project a reality. The committee also reviewed plans for summer renovations in the Frank Dining Hall, Lawrence Hall and the Keck Center. The committee’s recommendations to authorize funds to support those projects, as well as the repair of a major campus steam line, were approved by the full board on Saturday.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, Inc., visited with the board on Friday in advance of her public address in Cotterell Court. Our conversation focused on women in the workplace and on how the use of advancing technologies and social media continue to be of interest and importance to Colgate. That evening board members enjoyed dinner and casual conversation in four faculty homes. We are grateful for the hospitality of Scott and Ellen Kraly, Antonio and Pilar Barrera, Carolyn Hsu and Christopher Henke, and Brendt and Nicole Simpson. They all provided great food and convivial settings for trustees and faculty members to get to know each other and to discuss campus issues.
The board meeting on Saturday, April 6th, began in a special way. Trustee Jim Smith ’70 arranged for the Sojourner’s, Colgate’s Gospel Choir, to open the meeting with an inspirational song performed as the opening prayer. A member of the group, Rebekka Ward ’13, was also recognized as a new Watson Fellow.
During our formal business session, the board reviewed and approved the budget for fiscal year 2013-14 and approved the expenditures for capital projects referenced earlier. It also received brief reports from the various board committees and an update on admission results. We also laid out topics to be discussed at our next board meeting on June 7-8 in Hamilton.
Following the meeting several board members attended the programs associated with the Entrepreneurial Weekend, including a luncheon with the keynote speaker, Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and chief executive officer of Chobani, Inc. Mr. Ulukaya was an excellent speaker, and his yogurt company now employs approximately 1500 people in the region. Colgate will present him with an honorary degree at Commencement 2013.
In addition to Colgate’s always lively atmosphere, the weeks leading up to our next meeting will attract hundreds of visitors to campus to attend such major events as the Global Leaders Lecture Series (April 13), Commencement (May 19) and Reunion 2013 (May 31-June 3). On behalf of the board, I express enthusiastic thanks for all of the efforts of every member of the Colgate community who manage such events. But even more importantly, we thank you for everything you do to support our students and our academic mission throughout the year.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Thank you. Best wishes from Colgate.
Best regards, Denis F. Cronin ’69 P’09, P’10
Chair, Colgate University Board of Trustees