Dear Colgate Colleagues and Friends,
Members of the Board of Trustees participated in a series of informative sessions and events October 3–5, 2013, the first of four board meetings in 2013–14. I write to provide information about our activities and discussions with members of the faculty, staff, and students.
On Thursday evening, October 3, many trustees attended a dinner at Merrill House in conjunction with Colgate’s Living Writers Series
. They joined professors and students who had attended the event with acclaimed novelist and essayist Zadie Smith. Other trustees attended the Peter C. Schaehrer Memorial Lecture
where Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, spoke on the topic, “Why Civil Resistance Works: Unarmed Struggle in the Past and Future.” Both events were informative and provided a good forum for trustees to experience the vibrant nature of campus events.
On Friday, October 4, the following board committees met: Academic and Faculty Affairs; Audit; Budget, in the form of a joint meeting with the on-campus Budget Committee; Capital Assets; Institutional Advancement and Communications; and Student Affairs. Many of these sessions focused on aspects of the strategic planning process
including the Teaching and Learning Working Group
report and the Campus Master Plan
. A highlight of the day was a luncheon with four international students who provided enthusiastic and insightful perspectives about their Colgate experiences. Board members also attended the inaugural event for the Lampert Institute for Global and Civic Affairs
, which featured a lecture by former U.S. Food and Drug Administration head, David A. Kessler, MD. We were delighted to be joined by Edgar A. Lampert ’62, and his wife Robin, who have provided leadership funding of the Institute.
Friday evening’s dinner deserves special reference. The board dined with more than 30 members of the faculty and a program titled “Global Perspectives at Colgate” formed the basis for several presentations and discussions throughout the evening. Provost and Dean of the Faculty Doug Hicks
also introduced new members of the faculty who briefly described their fields of study and the reasons they came to Colgate. Following dinner we heard wonderful presentations about study groups and approved programs abroad, language study, and faculty and student research. The meal and conversations confirmed the value of strong trustee and faculty connections and the importance of reinvigorating a project that was piloted several years ago whereby each trustee was connected to an academic department. The purpose and value of this program, which will begin in the spring 2014 semester, is to provide trustees with a better understanding of the important work of the faculty and the issues and opportunities they face.
On Saturday, October 5, the board conducted its formal meeting, devoting the majority of time to discussion of the preliminary draft of the Strategic Plan. The board has received updates throughout the planning process and appreciates the efforts of so many in the campus community to develop a plan that will provide the strategic direction for Colgate in the years ahead. President Herbst was joined by faculty and staff members of the Advisory and Planning Committee (APC)
and trustees contributed their insights and comments about the plan. President Herbst also presented data from the senior class survey and U.S. News and World Report rankings data, as well as a set of “dashboard indicators” developed to track university progress in a variety of areas. The board actions included the approval of the New Athletic Facility
and the approval of a resolution for the renovation of the admission lobby in James B. Colgate Hall. The board also approved the 2013 Student Organization Relationship Statement that provides clarity about the structures and forms of support for all student organizations in the context of the goals of “Living the Liberal Arts
.” The board also held its annual open session, which provides an opportunity for members of the university community to share perspectives and/or make requests to the board.
At the next meeting, which will be held in New York City January 23–25, 2014, the board will consider for approval the Strategic Plan, which will be further refined by the APC after incorporating the feedback that members of the campus community will provide in the coming months. As the two-year planning process comes to a close, the board looks forward to working with President Herbst and members of the Colgate community to adopt and implement the Strategic Plan in order to achieve its appropriately ambitious objectives.
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, Denis F. Cronin ’69 P’09, P’10
Chair, Colgate University Board of Trustees