Centre Trustees discuss campus improvements, records in giving and high academic achievement
Centre College’s first Board of Trustees meeting of the 2012-13 academic year was marked with news of College achievements: improvements in campus facilities; records in development; Centre’s designation as an honor roll recipient on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of the Great Colleges to Work For; and the College’s highest-ever ACT average for the Class of 2016. The Board met on Thursday, Oct. 18 and Friday, Oct. 19—the opening of Centre’s Homecoming weekend—on campus.
The dedications of the A. Eugene Brockman Residential Commons and the Abraham Lincoln statue represented two of several campus improvements. Brockman Commons, a $15-million project funded by the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, is a 124-bed apartment-style facility that opened this fall. The Trust also funded the development of Centre’s South Fields—formerly the site of a tobacco warehouse and stockyard.
Robert L. Keasler, Jr., vice president for finance and treasurer, reported that the South Fields are almost complete. The complex includes a lighted softball field with dugouts, batting cages and a press box, and a lighted turf field with a press box and sound system. The facility will be used by College teams, including softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, field hockey, and men’s and women’s soccer, and intramural sports.
Keasler also reported that the College returned $500,000 from year-end surpluses to the endowment.
The Board approved the FY 2011-12 audit and approved Crowe Horwath, LLP as auditors for FY 2012-13.
Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations, reported that more than 50 percent of alumni, parents and members of the graduating class made gifts to the College in 2012—for the third consecutive year. Gifts to the CentreFund exceeded $1.7 million for the second consecutive year, and membership in Centre Associates exceeded 1,100 for the first time in College history. The College had its third-best fundraising year ever, receiving just over $18 million in total gifts and grants. In the area of planned giving, Trollinger reported, the College has received six new bequests, including two for $250,000 each and one for $30,000. The College also received $25,000 from the Margaret V. Haggin Trust for scholarship endowment and a grant for $9,637 from the Kentucky Latino Education Alliance, which will support an after school enrichment program for children whose parents are migrant workers.
In addition, the Associated Colleges of the South awarded three faculty development grants to Centre faculty. KatieAnn Skogsberg, assistant professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience, in collaboration with a colleague at Davidson College, received $10,000 in support of a workshop promoting the responsible conduct of research. Mary Daniels, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the European studies program, and a colleague at Trinity University received $8,350 to develop a manuscript detailing their years of research on evidence-based teaching principles at liberal arts institutions. Sarah Murray, associate professor of education and chair of the education program; Andrea Abrams, assistant professor of anthropology and chair of the gender studies program; and their partners at Birmingham-Southern College received $8,377 to further a collaboration that provides international teaching experiences for pre-service teachers.
Trollinger also reported that staff in the alumni office planned more than 30 Vice Presidential Debate watch parties across the U.S. Most were made possible by in-kind gifts from alumni.
The Board voted to approve the Dr. Theodore E. Kraft Class of 1968 Scholarship, awarded to worthy full-time students who demonstrate need and are majoring in physics or mathematics, and the Alva B. Cushman Scholarship Fund, awarded to full-time students with consideration given to financial need and academic excellence.
Bob Nesmith, dean of admission and student financial planning, reported that the Class of 2016—this year’s first-year class—boasts the College’s highest-ever class ACT average of 28.3, with mid-range scores of 26-31. Fifty percent of the class comes from outside Kentucky and five percent are international students, making this the most geographically diverse class since 1977.
Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, reported that opening enrollment this year was 1,343. She also reported that first-year student retention is 91 percent.
Fabritius reported that the inaugural year of the Centre Education Fellows Program, developed through a grant from the Cargill Fund, was a success. The selection committee named eight Fellows and disbursed $25,247 in awards. Projects included teaching in summer programs for disadvantaged youths, developing a personalized student curriculum for an afterschool program; and serving in schools established for war refugees and former child laborers in Ghana. The selection committee anticipates distributing more funds after the 2013 competition and could foresee expanding the program to include the academic year.
Fabritius also said that 348 students will study abroad this year. Upcoming CentreTerm courses include Primate Research in Barbados; Biodiversity and Conservation in Malaysian Borneo; History and Religion in Israel; Art Restoration in Paris and Provence; Education and Anthropology in Ghana; Machiavelli and Renaissance in Florence; and Marketing Art in Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam; and Internships in Merida.
The Board approved sabbatical leaves for 10 faculty members, and confirmed their earlier approval of one leave that had been delayed.
Randy Hays, vice president and dean of student life, reported that nearly every Centre student has signed the Civility Pledge, an effort promoted by the Student Government Association. He also reported that, in athletics news, Centre began its membership in the Southern Athletic Association, which spans six states and eight institutions.
The next meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees is scheduled for Jan. 25-26, in Louisville.