At the Kenyon Board of Trustees annual fall gathering – its first with President Sean M. Decatur – trustees discussed a number of new planning initiatives, approved the elevation of six faculty members to full professor, and participated in an array of inaugural activities. The meetings of the various committees as well as the full board took place on Thursday, October 24, and Friday, October 25.
In the joint meeting of the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee with the Executive Committee, trustees discussed a new strategic-planning initiative for the College. The four-pronged effort will include:
The goal of these activities will be the creation of a vision for the College in the year 2020. A draft of the strategic-planning document will be prepared in time for the board’s fall meeting in 2014.
The Audit Subcommittee was able to present an “unqualified” (i.e., problem-free) report from Kenyon’s auditors. In a separate meeting, the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee focused on a review of the budget year just past and a preview of the 2014-15 year. Likewise, the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee reviewed the Class of 2017, the most diverse ever, and looked at early predictions for the applicant pool for the Class of 2018. The Information Resources Committee discussed massive – or “big” – data but came to no resolutions.
The Development and External Affairs Committee heard updates on the progress toward improving the rate of alumni participation in the Kenyon Fund, the College’s primary source of unrestricted operating funds, and on the early stages of planning for Kenyon’s next comprehensive campaign. The committee also reviewed plans for the search for the next head of the College Relations Division. Sarah Kahrl, the current vice president of the division, was recently named director of the Kenyon Institute. Working with the executive search firm of Isaacson, Miller, the effort will be led by the committee’s chairman, David Meuse, with fellow trustees Rose Brintlinger Fealy ’84 and David Horvitz ’74, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Delahunty, Kenyon Review editor and English professor David Lynn ’76, and alumnus Jeff Newton ’72, who recently announced his retirement from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as vice president for resource development. Assisting in the search as coordinator will be the president’s chief of staff, Susan Morse.
The Curriculum and Faculty Committee forwarded to the board its approval of several promotions from associate to full professor, effective July 1, 2014. Those receiving the promotions are Julie Brodie (dance), Pamela Camerra-Rowe (political science), Marcella Hackbardt (art), Robert Mauck (biology), David Rowe (political science), and Reginald Sanders (music).
In the meeting of the Student Affairs Committee, a presentation on the career-development program was followed by a discussion with Student Council representatives about housing charges on campus. The latter topic, which was also addressed by the Diversity Committee, will be the subject of an administrative proposal to be developed for consideration at the February 2014 meeting of the board.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee heard updates on campus construction projects and the continuing experimentation regarding a suitable material for resurfacing Middle Path. The committee endorsed, and the full board approved, planning for a new storage facility. The structure, which will include both basic and climate-controlled storage areas, will be located in the vicinity of the maintenance facility near the playing fields at the southeastern edge of the campus.
In other actions, the board elected a new trustee, Washington, D.C., schoolteacher Hope Harrod ’98, and approved memorial resolutions honoring the late Charles “Chuck” Leech Jr., a former alumni trustee, and the late Anne Jeffrey Robinson, widow of former alumni director Jefferson D. Robinson III 1949 P ’81 GP ’98 ’02 ’12 H ’88. The board also voted to proceed with updating the campus master plan, an element of the strategic-planning initiative.
On Saturday, October 26, the trustees took part in the inauguration of President Decatur and the day’s other festivities. Most were on hand for the ceremony itself, decked out in their distinctive purple hats. Many also stayed on for the evening’s illumination of Old Kenyon, a custom dating back to 1833, and the gala in Peirce and Dempsey halls.
“The weekend was a memorable celebration of community and tradition on campus,” President Decatur said. “I’m truly grateful for the work that went into all the inaugural activities and for the participation by so many members of the Kenyon family and delegates from other institutions.”