Centre College reports record applications, fundraising success at Spring 2014 Trustees meeting

Posted by Centre News in News 16 Apr 2014

old_centre_summerThe spring meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees was marked with news of promising trends in student recruitment and successful outcomes in annual giving, among other forecasts of on-going success in 2014. The board met April 10-11 on Centre’s campus.

Bob Nesmith, dean of admission and student financial planning, reported continued growth in applications that represent an increase in both quantity and quality. Applications for the Class of 2018 totaled just under 2,500, a 2 percent increase over last year’s record result.

Nesmith cited the strength of applicants, with the admitted class offering the College’s all-time high ACT scores. Increased diversity was also noted among the application pool, with a 17 percent increase in applications from students of color and a 29 percent growth in international applications. Additionally, the admitted class reveals a 44 percent surge in legacy applications, confirming the lasting positive impact of the Centre experience.

Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, received Board approval for new tenure-track faculty hired for fall 2014, including Leonard Demoranville (chemistry), Jonathan Earle (history), Jessica Groves-Chapman (behavioral neuroscience), Patten Mahler (economics), Kelly O’Quin (biology), Bruce Rodenborn (physics), Andrea Iulia Sprinceana (Spanish) and Jessica Wooten (biology).

Additionally, the Board voted to grant emeritus status for three professors who will retire at the end of the spring term 2014: Christine Barton, professor of biology; William Crummett, professor of physics; and Michael F. Hamm, Ewing T. Boles Professor of History.

Vice President for College Relations Richard Trollinger highlighted recent fundraising achievements, emphasizing that through the first three quarters of the College’s fiscal year, Centre has received gifts totaling more than $10 million from 6,181 donors. He credits the rise in giving participation rates with much of that success, noting that 44 percent of the parents of currently enrolled students have made gifts thus far.

Alumni giving also recently surpassed the 41 percent participation rate, largely as a result of the successful “Fund the Flame” one-day giving campaign that brought in nearly 1,500 gifts and more than $440,000. Among the donations were challenge gifts from trustees totaling $250,000.

Additionally, Trollinger reported on several scholarships and academic grants, including the creation of The Vinson Scholarship, funded by remaining assets from the Fred M. Vinson Foundation. The board voted to approve the $233,000 endowed scholarship program in memory of Vinson, Class of 1909, who was Chief Justice of the United States.

Among other academic grant announcements, Centre will receive $50,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation to support its mission to infuse science into Asian studies at liberal arts colleges. Assistant Professor of Biology Marie Nydam also obtained an $8,698 Kentucky EPSCoR award, supported by the National Science Foundation, to fund a student/faculty collaborative research trip to northern Spain this summer.

The Office of Alumni Affairs continues to offer an extensive event schedule, including the College’s first-ever Black Alumni Weekend, held in April. In July 2014, Centre will host its Alumni College, this year giving participants the opportunity to take a class from a celebrity line-up of eight current and emeriti faculty members.

Randy Hays, vice president and dean of student life, emphasized that Centre continues to be a service-minded community, as evidenced by the number of students engaged in service on campus and beyond. The Bonner Community Service Program is operating at full capacity, with 62 students actively enrolled and performing service in the Danville and Boyle County community. In March, several students and staff also participated in the Alternative Spring Break program to assist with projects such as environmental restoration, community outreach and education in surrounding states. On campus, students displayed overwhelming interest in service to the College, with 82 students applying for 26 open resident assistant spots.

Hays also discussed preparations for a number of summer activities scheduled on campus, including Governor’s School for the Arts; the Centre Summer Scholars Program, an academic and leadership program designed for rising junior and senior high school students; and the Centre Compass Initiative, a leadership training experience offered to incoming first-year Centre students.

With Director of Athletics and Recreation Brad Fields, Hays additionally noted that Centre athletics continues to perform successfully, with 10 teams holding national rankings this season. Within the Southern Athletics Association (SAA), the Colonels have thus far combined to win eight regular season and tournament championships, including both men’s swimming and diving and men’s basketball winning their second straight SAA titles. Additionally, four Centre coaches have been named SAA Coach of the Year to date, while 85 student-athletes have already earned SAA All-Conference distinction this year.

Fields also announced recent athletic facility enhancements, including significant upgrades to the Craig Johnson Pool at Boles Natatorium this past fall, in addition to plans to improve strength training capabilities at the Buck Fitness Center beginning in June.

In other College business, the Board approved the budget for the fiscal year 2014-15, the graduating class of 2014 (subject to final approval in May) and faculty action on the size and composition of the tenure and reappointment committee.

In addition, five trustees were re-elected to serve six-year terms, which will begin July 1, 2014, and run through June 30, 2020. Those trustees are Lea Stromire Johnson ’82, Randal B. Kell ’69, Daryll W. Martin ’78, Thomas H. Meeker and Kevin D. Taylor ’85.

Two emeritus trustees were also elected: Jane L. Stevenson ’53, who served the College as a Board member for 27 years; and Mary Griffith ’68, who served for 19 years.

Officers of the Board elected for the 2014-15 year are Randal B. Kell ’69, chairman; Mark E. Nunnelly ’80, vice chairman; James D. Rouse ’62, secretary; John A. Roush, president of the College; and Yvonne York Morley, assistant secretary.

The next meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees will take place October 23-24, 2014, on the Centre campus.

by Amy Clark Wise