Spring 2017 Board of Trustees Meeting Summary

A letter summarizing the Board Meeting that took place February 23–25, 2017. The meeting included setting the fees for 2017–2018.

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke College community,

The Board of Trustees met on campus from February 23 through February 25, 2017, commencing with a reception with student leaders on Thursday evening. The Trustees also honored members of the College and Alumnae Association Commission, including members of the current working groups, and welcomed Elizabeth Conlisk, interim chief of Communications and Marketing; Tiffany Espinosa, executive director of Professional and Graduate Education (PaGE); Tricia Paik, Florence Finch Abbott Director of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; and Polly Prewitt-Freilino, director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

As is customary at its winter meeting, the Board set the fees for 2017 – 2018. The comprehensive fee will be $61,800, which includes $47,740 for tuition, $6,860 for housing and $7,200 for meals. Additional information for students and families has been provided.

In formal actions on Saturday morning, the Board was pleased to approve recommendations for tenure to Alexi Arango (physics), Mara Benjamin (fall 2017, Jewish studies), Jessica Maier (art history), Andrew G. Reiter (politics and international relations), Steven Schmeiser (economics) and Dylan Shepardson (mathematics and statistics). It approved recommendations for reappointment for Kimberly Juanita Brown (English and Africana studies), Jennifer Wallace Jacoby (psychology and education), Kerstin Nordstrom (physics) and Heather Pon-Barry (computer science). The Board also approved recommendations for full retirement for James Coleman and Terese Freedman (dance), Elissa Gelfand (French), Linda Laderach (music) and Joseph Smith (art history) and a recommendation for phased retirement for Janice A. Gifford (mathematics and statistics).

Other highlights of the meeting include:

  • a presentation on a detailed implementation-planning grid linked to The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2021
  • a panel discussion on post-election opportunities and challenges with Mona Sutphen ’89, trustee and former White House deputy chief of staff; Frances G. Burwell ’78, vice president at the Atlantic Council; and Jennifer Ruark P’20, deputy managing editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • an object-based learning session hosted by the Art Museum’s Ellen Alvord ’89 and Aaron Miller, and professors Renae Brodie (biological sciences) and Desmond Fitz-Gibbon (history)
  • a review of the College’s performance indicators for the U.S. News & World Report rankings from fall 2017
  • an update on the work of the Commission on the Relationship between the Alumnae Association and the College.

In other meetings and in the regular business of standing committees, the Board discussed a range of issues, including:

  • the performance of the College’s endowment, portfolio investment strategies and opportunities for increased emphasis on and commitment to environmental sustainability
  • the College’s operating and capital budgets and current financial position
  • an update on the construction of the Community Center, which is on schedule to be completed on budget and on time for a January 2018 opening
  • trends in majors over time and long-range curricular planning
  • “Be Well, Mount Holyoke,” a proposed framework for a health and wellness initiative for students
  • the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative to be launched on March 27 with an all-day, all students, staff and faculty program
  • campus information security efforts.

The Board gratefully acknowledges the tremendous commitment of faculty, staff, students and alumnae and extends special thanks to the many members of the Mount Holyoke community who contributed to a highly productive meeting.


Barbara Baumann ’77
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Sonya Stephens
Acting President