Trustees meeting highlights achievements in retention and fundraising
RELEASED: Feb. 1, 2007
DANVILLE, KY—Centre College continues to make remarkable progress in fundraising, student retention and recruitment, according to reports delivered to the Board of Trustees at its annual winter meeting last weekend at Louisville's Seelbach Hotel.
The keynote speaker was Mr. George Kuh, the Chancellor's Professor and Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University, who discussed the National Survey of Student Engagement, better known as NSSE.
Following are highlights from the Board meeting.
President John Roush reported that retention at Centre continues to be strong. In the last four academic years, freshman retention figures have averaged above 90 percent. This improved retention has led to increase in overall enrollment and much stronger graduation rates. "Centre has moved into the elite small number of American institutions that consistently retain 90 percent of their freshmen and graduate 80 percent of each matriculating class in four years," Roush said.
Stephanie Fabritius, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College, discussed Centre's 2006 NSSE results. In four of five engagement categories (or "benchmarks"), Centre students' scores were higher than the average of the "high-performing institutions," defined as schools with benchmark ratings in the top 10 percent of all U.S. NSSE institutions. Centre was ranked highest in the engagement category of Supportive Campus Environment, which means that Centre students find that the College promotes and cultivates positive working and social relationships among different groups on campus. Centre also ranks highly in the categories of Level of Academic Challenge, Student-Faculty Interaction and Enriching Educational Experiences.
The next scheduled meeting of the Centre Board of Trustees will be on the College's campus April 12 and 13.
The Campaign for A More Perfect Centre, which has entered its final year, has surpassed its $120 million goal by more than $14 million dollars, with gifts and pledges currently totaling more than $134 million. Publicly announced in January 2004, the Campaign will run through December 2007. "We're extremely gratified to have total commitments greatly surpassing the overall goal of the Campaign at this stage," said Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations. "However, work still needs to be done in order to meet or exceed all of the individual goals within the fundraising effort."
Trollinger also reported on the $1 million challenge grant for endowment growth awarded to Centre from the James Graham Brown Foundation of Louisville. The terms of the grant require the College to first raise $3 million in new scholarship endowment monies between December 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007, the Campaign's end date. The $3 million in new endowment monies may be added to any existing scholarship fund or used to establish new endowed scholarships. When the $3 million goal is reached, the Brown Foundation will present $1 million to the College for the endowment of the James Graham Brown Scholarship Fund.
In addition, trustees learned that the College's mid-year alumni participation rate in annual giving has increased 18 percent over this time last year. Also, the College has seen a 167 percent increase in parent donors, resulting in the College surpassing its fundraising goal among that constituency for the year. Though much work remains to be done, this puts Centre on pace to recapture the nation's No. 1 spot in alumni giving. The College has led the nation in alumni annual giving for 16 of the last 22 years, and for the third consecutive year, Centre appeared on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of the Top 20 schools in alumni support per student enrolled.
Carey Thompson, vice president for enrollment and student planning services, announced that the College has experienced a 5 percent increase in applications over this time last year. Also this year, Early Action applicants were up approximately 4 percent and out-of-state applications are up 9 percent. Centre has set all-time records for applications received in each of the past three years.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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