April 10–12, 2015, the Alumni Council met in Hamilton for its third meeting of the 2014–2015 academic year. The Board of Trustees meeting, Parents Steering Committee meeting, the annual Konosioni Auction, and the very successful Entrepreneur Weekend also took place that weekend. The council's work was conducted through its committees and through meetings of the entire council. A summary of the council's work appears below.
Joint committee meeting with Parents Steering Committee
Professor Mary Ann Calo (art and art history) and Anja Chavez (director of university museums) presented an overview of the new Center for Art and Culture. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer. Calo described the historical framework for the project, which incorporates art and anthropology, while Chavez discussed the architect and the educational opportunities for Colgate. The university’s anthropology and fine art collections – 27,000 objects in total – will be combined in the David Adjaye-designed building. Alumni and parents shared feedback on the design and discussed the integration with the village of Hamilton.
Michael Sciola, AVP and Director of Career Services, introduced the approved plan for a new career services building on campus. The new building will be located adjacent to La Casa and the OUS office (former French and Italian House), and it will accommodate a staff of 17 as well as event spaces, indoor and outdoor meeting space, virtual interview space, etc.
Career services is working to engage students as early as possible — 92 percent of all students have visited the center so far this year, compared to 85 percent last year at this time. The center has offered more than 200 programs and thousands of individual opportunities for undergraduates this year.
Sciola described three new professional networks coming in FY16: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), consulting, and communications/media. This year, the professional networks hosted more than 30 events, involving more than 700 Colgate community members. Asked how alumni can help, Sciola responded, “recruit, refer, and resource!”
Communications Committee meeting
Vice President of Communications Rachel Reuben discussed improvements in communicating with alumni. The committee discussed ways to share what they learn with fellow alumni, and Reuben offered regular space in ’Gateline, the monthly e-newsletter, for messages and updates from the Alumni Council.
District Clubs Committee
Tim Seamans ’02, chair of the District Clubs Committee, reviewed the quarterly club leadership calls, which covered the following issues: district clubs vacancies, Volunteer Summit (fall meeting) planning and suggestions, the awards selection process, and suggestions for the annual club summary.
University Relations Committee
Christina Khan, director of International Student Services, presented to the committee on the support her office provides for 262 international students from 42 countries. In less than 10 years, the international population at Colgate has more than doubled. Her office provides support with cultural adjustment and offers programs and activities. They are currently preparing for an increase in international student enrollment, and they are designing and creating additional programs.
After Khan’s presentation, committee chair Bart Hale ’04 led a discussion on services and support that alumni offer to students and how they are recorded. The committee also discussed how the Alumni Council could support first-generation or international students while they are at Colgate.
Jim Smith ’71, alumni trustee, offered an overview of the university’s bicentennial planning. Scheduled for 2018–2019, the celebration will include a conference, traveling exhibit, digital archives, Reunion, and the second edition of the book History of Colgate. Smith is part of a campus committee assembled to prepare the budget, programs, and needs for the bicentennial.
Presidential Search Committee update
Trustee and chair of the presidential search committee Mike Herling ’79, P’08,’10,’12 joined us and provided the Alumni Council and visiting parents with an overview of the search process. Herling described the primary attributes for candidates, the search consultants, and expected timeline.
State of the ’Gate
Director of Athletics Vicky Chun ’91 discussed a variety of topics about her department, including the 98-percent graduation rate and Colgate’s national ranking. She also discussed the new athletics facility, which is on budget and on time for an October 2016 opening. Asked about Reid Athletic Center, Chun offered a wish list of changes and upgrades, including an exterior face lift that fits with the design of campus, practice facilities for basketball and volleyball, additional multi-purpose indoor space, backfilling offices and locker-room spaces.
Chun also described the ever increasing competitiveness in NCAA Division 1 athletics, e.g. the Big 10 and Pac-12 are adding men’s and women’s ice hockey teams and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.
Andrew Coddington, AVP and director of planned giving, gave an overview of the Willow Society. Their goal is 130 new members, targeting demographics of 25th Reunion year and older. He also described a new funding campaign called “Choose your Cause,” which allows alumni to connect their Colgate gift to philanthropic interests.
Dean of Admission Gary Ross ’77 presented an overview of the accepted Class of 2019, and Vice President of Finance and Administration Brian Hutzley joined the Alumni Council to announce the disappointing but humane decision no longer to have swans in Taylor Lake. Colgate’s decision comes as a result of new draft regulations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
President Jeffrey Herbst
On Sunday, President Herbst joined the Alumni Council for his last meeting as university president. Terry Egler ’77, alumni council president, presented Herbst with a certificate of appreciation for his leadership at Colgate. Herbst reflected on his five years as president and discussed his aspirations for Colgate in the future.
During the general session open discussion, Pat Apelian ’76 gave an overview of her new committee on intellectual engagement. Christian Teeter ’95 will co-chair this committee with Apelian during the next fiscal year.
Robert Fawcett ’91 provided the council with an update on his task force on best practices. He summarized a conference call he had with 22 other alumni volunteers from 12 other institutions to discuss effective alumni boards.
Co Bertsche ’63, legal counsel, reviewed several edits to the council bylaws (distributed in advance to members). All revisions were approved and will be posted publicly on the Alumni Council website shortly.