February 2023 Board of Trustees Meeting Summary
A report on the board meeting held February 23–25, 2023.
Dear members of the Mount Holyoke College community,
The Board of Trustees met remotely February 23–25, 2023. Following the announcement of the election of our twentieth president, Danielle R. Holley, the meeting focused on the future of the College, particularly on key commitments that will help us strengthen our community and attain our long-range strategic goals.
Representatives from the Student Conference Committee presented the results of their spring 2022 student survey to the trustees, which included a request to grow our Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) program. Serendipitously, last summer Interim President Tatum invited Dr. Kristie Ford, a national expert on intergroup dialogue, to be a presidential fellow for the 2022–23 academic year. Over the last several months, Professor Ford has developed and led numerous workshops to engage students, faculty and staff in the practice. At the invitation of the Board’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) taskforce, Professor Ford presented at the February meeting, explaining to the trustees how Intergroup Dialogue builds and strengthens community by teaching us how to listen to and understand one another, even when we do not agree. Professor Ford will become a permanent member of our faculty on July 1, signaling a bright future for Intergroup Dialogue at Mount Holyoke.
A significant portion of the Board’s time was spent on the College’s long-range financial projections, taking into consideration the impact of multiyear projects. These projects include 1) the geothermal project that will help us meet our goal of being carbon neutral by our bicentennial in 2037 and 2) “Summit,” the enterprise resource planning (ERP) project that will modernize the software systems and processes we use to do important day-to-day College business. The Board expects to use loans to finance some of the increased capital needs in the coming years, and the funds for these multiyear projects will be borrowed as needed rather than all at once. As a first step in this process, the trustees authorized the College to borrow up to $65 million. A subcommittee of the Board’s Finance Committee will closely monitor our management and repayment of the debt, ensuring that we steward College resources with utmost care.
The Finance Committee engaged in a preliminary review of the budget parameters for FY24, with the expectation of approving a balanced budget at the May meeting. The trustees recognized the tremendous work done across the College, particularly by human resources, to rebuild our employee base following post-pandemic labor shortages. In addition to innovation in the areas of hybrid and remote work, the College’s compensation study will serve as a roadmap while we continue to position Mount Holyoke as an employer of choice. Thank you to everyone for putting in effort to attract and retain a world-class faculty and staff.
Other formal business of the Board of Trustees is listed below. The Board congratulates the March 2023 degree recipients and our faculty members awarded tenure or reappointed to their positions. We also thank and congratulate our retiring faculty who spent their careers providing the intellectually adventurous education that is a Mount Holyoke hallmark. Finally, we welcome our new and reelected Board members and thank them for their commitment to the College. Our trustees who have fulfilled their terms will be honored for their service at our annual tribute dinner in May.
Actions of the Board
The winter meeting of the Board of Trustees included the following actions:
- Approving the academic year 2023–2024 comprehensive fee at $82,980. This fee represents a tuition rate of $63,904, a room rate of $9,452, a board rate of $9,386 and the SGA fee of $238 (set by the Student Government Association).
- The awarding of degrees, on March 10, 2023, to 88 seniors and one graduate student.
- The awarding of tenure to professors Ted Gilliland, Anna Maria Hong, Andrea Lawlor, Vanessa Rosa, Spencer Smith, John Tawa and Lan Wu.
- The reappointment of professors Benjamin Gebre-Medhin, James (Murphy) McCauley, Lidia Mrad, Adriana Pitetta, Sarah Stefana Smith and Melody Su.
- The awarding of tenure and appointment of Kristie Ford at the rank of full professor.
- Confirmation of the retirement of professors Paula Debnar and Karen Remmler.
- The election of Nancie Fimbel ’68 to a five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2023.
- The election of Anne McKenny ’79 to a second consecutive five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2023.
- The election of Markeisha Miner ’99 to a five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2023.
- The election of Patricia (Trish) Walsh ’87 to a five-year term as trustee beginning July 1, 2023.
- The Board also approved an additional slate of candidates who will be added to the list of those distinguished individuals eligible to be invited by the president to receive an honorary degree at a future Commencement.
The trustees send our very best wishes to students, faculty and staff as they wrap up the spring semester, with special congratulations going to our graduating students and to our alums celebrating Reunions this year. We wish you a beautiful celebration in South Hadley.
Karena Strella ’90
Chair, Board of Trustees
Beverly Daniel Tatum