The Kenyon College Board of Trustees convened for its winter meeting on February 4. The morning session was dedicated to the board’s three strategic committees: the Student Experience Committee, the Campus and Finance Committee, and the Kenyon in the World Committee. These committees form the spine of a new committee structure adopted by the Board in 2021 following a review of its governance framework and support the College’s latest strategic plan, Foundations for Kenyon’s Third Century.
Highlights from the strategic committee meetings include:
- The Student Experience Committee considered various approaches to building student recruitment pipelines and partnerships in support of the College’s strategic plan and the Kenyon Access Initiative.
- The central business of the Campus and Finance Committee was to discuss the proposed 2022-23 operating budget, including investments in financial aid, salaries and benefits, as well as required student charges. In addition, the committee received an update on the West Quad and South Quad construction projects as well as carbon neutrality planning. The committee approved the refinancing of the 2013 bond issue to realize debt service savings.
- The Kenyon in the World Committee discussed its charter and goals; heard a report on the outcomes and perceptions of graduates 1, 5 and 10 years out; and reviewed the results of the latest comprehensive alumni survey, conducted by the Alumni and Parent Engagement Office every four years.
In the board’s afternoon session, President Decatur reported on applications for the Class of 2026 — which are up 14% for a record high of just over 8,500 — and fundraising for the Kenyon Access Initiative, which seeks to increase the number of Pell-eligible students on campus by 50% and which has received enthusiastic support from donors — $13 million in gifts and commitments in the first six months. He also updated the board on the Campus Senate’s discussions about Kenyon’s monikers. The chairs of the Campaign Leadership Committee reported on overall giving to the Our Path Forward to the Bicentennial campaign, which stands at $463 million raised toward its $500 million goal.
The board approved the operating budget proposed for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which was set at $178,780,000. Highlights include:
- A 7.5% increase in the financial aid budget, totaling $51,420,000 for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
- A 4% increase in the general salary pool, plus an additional 1% to target salaries lagging in the marketplace and to recognize employee excellence through the Employee Performance Program. This is in addition to the increases to hourly wages that went into effect on January 1, 2022. Increases for union members are dictated by contract.
- A 4.5% increase in total student charges, which will rise to $80,100 for the 2022–23 academic year.
In other business, the board:
- Approved the appointment of Benita Jackson P’18 as a trustee-at-large to fill a vacancy in the trustee class of 2027.
- Approved promotion to full professor for the following members of the faculty: Katherine Elkins, Comparative Literature and Humanities; Yutan Getzler, Chemistry; Zoë Kontes, Classics; and Kimmarie Murphy, Anthropology.
- Adopted a resolution of appreciation for outgoing trustee Larry H. James.
- Authorized the College to refinance the 2013 bond issue to realize debt service savings.