Premier scholarships and fundraising success among highlights of 2016 winter trustees meeting
Premier scholarships, promising trends in recruitment and continued momentum in campaign fundraising were among the highlights of the annual winter meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees. The board met Jan. 29-30, 2016, at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville.
The meeting’s opening luncheon provided an opportunity for the College to recognize its longstanding relationship with the Brown Foundation, an important partnership that launched Centre’s first premier scholarship opportunity, the Brown Fellows Program, in 2009.
James Graham Brown Foundation President Mason Rummel, along with Alex Rankin, chairman of the board and CEO of the foundation, provided the keynote address, highlighting the reputation of the Brown Fellows Program as one of the nation’s elite fellowship programs and the premier scholarship and enrichment program in the state.
Now in its eighth year, the program at Centre has continued to attract exceptional students engaged in intellectual leadership and academic excellence from across the world. Among those students are current Brown Fellows Lola Fakunle ’17 (Louisville, Ky.) and Matt Hughes ’16 (Ft. Pierce, Fla.), both of whom provided presentations at the luncheon.
According to Vice President for College Relations Richard Trollinger, momentum for the $200 million Third Century Campaign continues to strengthen, with commitments exceeding $124 million only one year after the public launch. As Centre enters the regional campaign phase in early 2016, several areas of opportunity demonstrate significant progress, including record-level participation from the Centre Associates and the ongoing $20 million Lincoln Scholar Challenge. The College is currently recruiting its first class of Lincoln Scholars for fall 2016, identifying those students who have the capacity and deep desire to change the world.
With the regular decision application deadline having just passed, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Bob Nesmith reported continued positive trends in recruitment, not only highlighting the strength in quantity of applicants but also the quality. With early plan applications up 3.3 percent over last year, Nesmith noted the entry pool is more diverse at this stage, with an increase in applications from American students of color. He also noted that international applications are slightly ahead of last year and first-generation applicants remain steady at 23 percent.
Centre also realized an increase in campus visits of more than 30 percent over this time last year. According to Nesmith, visit numbers are typically good predictors of enrollment and higher yield.
On the heels of the November 2015 site visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephanie Fabritius reported updates on Centre’s reaffirmation of accreditation process and the campus-wide implementation of a quality enhancement plan, for which the College developed Creative Centre.
Fabritius also acknowledged Professor of Spanish Mary Daniels, who recently was named the 2015 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Kentucky Professor of the Year, an honor that strengthens Centre’s distinction as the states’s leading college for Professor of the Year awards.
Beyond campus, Fabritius highlighted the College’s top-ranked study abroad program, citing 217 students who traveled abroad during CentreTerm to 12 destinations around the world, including Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, Rwanda, Spain and Uganda.
Director of Human Resources Kay Drake, along with Vice President and Dean of Student Life Randy Hays and Associate Vice President of Legal Affairs Jamey Leahey, reported on the College’s continued Title IX efforts and campus training. Given its ongoing interest in a safe campus environment, Centre places great emphasis on this issue of national concern.
Among other student life news, Hays noted that the inaugural class of Grissom Scholars continues to thrive academically and has become involved on campus through newly created activities, such as a peer mentoring program. The initiative is already inspiring current Grissom Scholars to serve as mentors for future first-generation students.
Building on Director of Athletics and Recreation Brad Fields’ report of continued success in Centre Athletics, particularly the women’s soccer team’s remarkable final four advance in fall 2015, the trustees received updates regarding the South Fields soccer field project during the meeting’s plenary session. As with any construction Centre undertakes, it is being done with an eye toward sustainability. Approximately 300 truckloads, or about 70 percent of the materials removed from the demolition of buildings, was recycled.
Other topics of discussion at the meeting included a review of financial modeling, led by Interim CFO John Cuny and trustee Kevin Taylor.
The College also announced that Margaret Stroup, Class of 1960, and Jeffrey L. Briggs, Class of 2006, are the Associate and Young Associate of the Year, respectively. The two were recognized at the 2016 Associates Dinner at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville.
The next meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees is scheduled for April 14-15, 2016, on Centre’s campus.
by Amy Clark Wise
February 1, 2016