Trustees approve leadership changes
At their meeting on Saturday, April 30, which began with a moment of silence in memory of Colin Boyarski '08, Kenyon's trustees approved changes in leadership positions, elected new board members, learned the results of the race for alumni trusteeships, and listened to a report on Alumni Council activities from President Scott Baker '94. They also heard about the deliberations of the five campaign work groups. Trustee committee reports covered a range of issues and led to several actions by the full board.
William Bennett '68 P '96, '00, '07 will assume the chairmanship of the board from David Horvitz '74, who has served as chair for the past three years and will continue as a board member. Newly elected to six-year terms as at-large trustees were Brackett Denniston '69 and Pamela Flaherty P '00, '04. Denniston is vice president and general counsel of the General Electric Company in Fairfield, Connecticut; Flaherty is a senior vice president at Citigroup in New York City. Also elected to the board at the April meeting was William Spitz P '08, vice chancellor for investments and treasurer of Vanderbilt University, who will serve a four-year term as a parent trustee.
The winners of four-year terms as alumni trustees were Mary Kay Karzas '75 and Richard Rubin '62 P '00. Karzas is director of planned giving and deputy director of development for the Culver Educational Foundation, the fundraising arm of Indiana 's Culver Academies; Rubin is president of Richard A. Rubin and Associates, a lobbying firm based in San Francisco, California.
Retiring from the board was Craig Foley '65, who joined the group in 1995 and served most recently as chair of the Investment Committee and vice chair of the board. Completing their terms as alumni trustees were Marcia Barr Abbot '73 and William Russell '62 P '91.
The Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, chaired by Barry Schwartz '70, learned of another banner year in the Office of Admissions, with applications hitting an all-time high of 3,922, selectivity an all-time low of 36 percent, and the percentage of admitted students of color a record high of 15 percent. This committee and others will review the recommendations of the Diversity Task Force at the board 's October meeting.
Chaired by Bennett, the Buildings and Grounds Committee reviewed plans for the renovation of Peirce and Dempsey halls and won the board 's approval to proceed. The project, which will include the rebuilding of Dempsey, is expected to commence in the summer of 2006. Also approved were several smaller projects, among them the addition of a service kitchen to Cromwell Cottage to accommodate food preparation for College events held there.
The Curriculum and Faculty Committee, chaired by William Lowry Jr. '56, discussed a report on the 2005 hiring season, which included a historic high of fifteen searches for tenure-track positions, all ending in job acceptances by first-choice candidates. Both the committee and the board approved an adjustment in the Trustee Teaching Excellence Awards, which will henceforth carry a prize of $5,000.
Chaired by Barrett Toan '69, the Development Committee heard brief reports from each of the five working groups that have been discussing needs to be addressed in the upcoming comprehensive campaign. Committee members also listened to presentations by three potential fundraising consultants.
The Information Resources Committee, chaired by Harvey Lodish '62, discussed the potential benefits of providing wireless connectivity throughout the campus. With the increasing use of laptop computers, the committee agreed that an investment in wireless connectivity could be a boon to faculty members and students alike, while allowing the College to reassign spaces now occupied by computer labs.
Chaired by Foley, the Investment Committee examined the performance of Kenyon 's endowment during the first half of the fiscal year and informed the board that top-decile performance had been achieved. It was also revealed that the endowment had reached $155 million, its highest valuation in history, as of December 31, 2004.
The report for the Student Affairs Committee, chaired by James Cox '60, was offered by Karen Buchwald Wright P '05. The committee considered issues related to health and counseling and informed the board of student requests for extended hours, additional staffing, and expanded facilities. The committee also reported on the College 's ongoing efforts to address alcohol abuse on campus and noted that recommendations are being sought from all campus constituencies.
One of the most pleasant events of the weekend was the introduction of David McConnell, Kenyon 's newly hired chief business officer (see accompanying article). McConnell, who will be coming to Kenyon from Washington and Lee University, was warmly received by the trustees.