Centre College celebrates historic fundraising initiatives at 2015 winter trustees meeting
The 2015 winter meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees was marked with news of historic fundraising initiatives, groundbreaking scholarships and record-level recruitment that will prove transformational in the life of the College. The board met Jan. 30-31 at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville.
The meeting’s opening luncheon began with a keynote address from retired astronaut Leland D. Melvin, Centre’s 2008 commencement speaker. Speaking on the subject of creativity, Melvin drew from his 25-year career with NASA, where he logged two flights aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis and over 565 hours in space to help build the International Space Station.
Later that evening at the annual Associates Dinner, Vice President for College Relations Richard Trollinger publicly announced the College’s Third Century Campaign, a $200 million fundraising effort.
Endowed funds for student scholarships and financial aid represent an overall campaign goal of $130 million, Trollinger said. Faculty and academic support ($35 million), campus projects ($25 million) and annual giving ($10 million) comprise the rest of the $200 million campaign. Centre has already reached nearly 60 percent of the overall goal, with $116.5 million raised during the campaign’s “silent phase.” The campaign will conclude in January 2019, the bicentennial anniversary of Centre’s founding.
As part of the campaign launch, Trollinger also announced an anonymous $20 million challenge gift to create the new Lincoln Scholars Program. The full-ride-plus scholarship is created for students with the capacity and deep desire to change the world and will begin in the fall of 2016 with 10 inaugural recipients. Offering a dollar-for-dollar match, the Lincoln Challenge is one of several lead gifts for Centre’s Third Century Campaign.
The board voted to approve the Lincoln Scholars Program, in addition to three other scholarships: the Class of 1964 Scholarship; the Frank H. Edelen, Jr. and Cheryl C. Edelen Scholarship; and the Melun/Thompson Scholarship.
Bob Nesmith, dean of admission and student financial planning, reported application numbers are trending ahead, with an increase of 9 percent over the same time last year. The rise in applicants reveals gains across all segments of recruitment: in-state, out-of-state and international students.
Notably, Nesmith acknowledged the marked impact of the new Grissom Scholars Program, with applications from first-generation college students accounting for 25 percent of the recruitment pool. The full-tuition national scholarship program is aimed at high-achieving first-generation college students and will launch on Centre’s campus in fall 2015, with 10 new Grissom Scholars added per year.
Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, focused much of her attention on discussions regarding assessment, the role of the board on educational quality and Centre’s upcoming reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Beyond campus, Fabritius acknowledged Centre’s #1 national ranking for study abroad, citing the 221 students and 18 faculty members who traveled to Asia, Europe, Africa, Central America and South America for specialized classes during January’s CentreTerm. Sixteen additional students completed internships in Albania, China and Mexico.
Director of Athletics and Recreation Brad Fields shared news about one of Centre’s most successful athletic seasons to date, with the Colonels claiming the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) title in five out of a possible seven sports during the fall 2015 season. Football, women’s soccer, field hockey, and men’s and women’s cross country all captured SAA crowns, with each team advancing to NCAA postseason competition. On the national level, the College is ranked 14th out of 450 NCAA Division III institutions in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings at the end of fall competition, the best standing in school history.
In other student life news, Vice President and Dean of Student Life Randy Hays announced efforts underway to consider adding a fifth sorority on campus, pending an assessment and recommendation by a Panhellenic Council exploratory committee.
Following a review by Centre President John A. Roush, the board approved the College’s refocused strategic plan, “The Centre Saga,” which articulates five key directions covering every aspect of Centre’s mission. The full board also unanimously reaffirmed the College’s mission of preparing students for lives of learning, leadership and service.
The next meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees is scheduled for April 9-10, 2015, on Centre’s campus.
by Amy Clark Wise