Report on the February 2016 Board of Trustees Meeting

March 7, 2016

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke community,

We write to report on the meeting of the Board of Trustees held on campus on February 25, 26, and 27. The Board joins us in thanking the many members of the Mount Holyoke community who contributed to the informative presentations and discussions that occurred over the course of their time on campus. Over 50 faculty and staff and more than 40 students participated in committee meetings, presentations, and informal conversations with trustees.

In formal actions on Friday and Saturday mornings, the Board was pleased to approve tenure and promotion to associate professor for Catherine Corson (environmental studies), Kate Singer (English), and Alan van Giessen (chemistry); promotion to full professor for Martha F. Hoopes (biological sciences) and Amy E. Martin (English); and voted to grant emeritus status to Susan R. Barry (biological sciences), Lawrence Fine (Jewish studies), Indira Viswanathan Peterson (Asian studies), Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez (Spanish), Robert M. Schwartz (history), Carole E. Straw (history), and Nicole C. Vaget (French).

The Board elected Elizabeth H. Weatherman ’82 to a five-year term as Trustee of the College beginning July 1, 2016, and Erin L. Ennis ’92 to a five-year term as Alumna Trustee of the College, effective July 1, 2017.

The Board further voted to set the FY 2016–2017 tuition rate at $45,680, the room rate at $6,560, and the board rate at $6,880. This total fee of $59,120 is a 4.5 percent increase from the FY 2015–2016 rate of $56,560.

Two topics dominated Board presentations and discussions: the proposed community center with dining, and the current strategic planning process. On Friday morning, trustees gathered in Blanchard Campus Center to participate in small group tours. The tours highlighted how the proposed renovation of the existing building will be physically and programmatically integrated with an addition to create a dynamic hub for enhancing community and campus life while also providing dining facilities that meet the needs of students today and in the future.

Later in the day, President Lynn Pasquerella, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of the College Cerri Banks, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Shannon Gurek, and Matthew Hyatt, principal, Bergmeyer Associates, Inc., provided updates and presentations on various aspects of the community center project. The Board enthusiastically and unanimously voted to authorize full project approval for the proposed community center.

In another session, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Sonya Stephens was joined by members of the Strategic Planning Committee, which includes alumnae, trustees, faculty, students, staff, and administration, for a presentation and discussion with trustees to identify emergent themes and goals of the plan. A draft of the plan will be reviewed by the Board at its May meeting.

Trustees also addressed a range of topics during several regular committee meetings. Among these topics were:

  • a review of goals and achievements and future campaign planning (advancement committee)
  • understanding the College’s need to ensure cyber security (audit and risk committees)
  • the status of strategic planning, governance, and the upcoming dean of faculty search (conference committee)
  • criteria and clarity around tenure and promotion decisions (education committee)
  • patterns and future directions in student enrollment and admissions work (enrollment committee)
  • proposed endowment spending; tuition, room, and board rates for FY 2016–2017; and a report on the status of the College’s endowment performance (finance committee)
  • a review of priorities for board membership (nominating and governance committee) 
  • a review of the student survey on student life and a report on student persistence (student affairs committee).

The Board also received an update on various metrics that will impact future rankings (working group on rankings) and a report on recent activities of the Alumnae Association.

President Pasquerella paid tribute to departing trustee Helen Drinan ’69, noting Drinan’s personal and professional support of Mount Holyoke as well the transformational vision and energy she has brought to her role as president of Simmons College. Drinan in turn thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve, noting the critically important role a board plays in supporting its president.

On behalf of the entire Board, we would like to express our gratitude for all that you do to support Mount Holyoke and its mission.

Sincerely,

Barbara Baumann ’77
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Lynn Pasquerella ’80
President