The spring meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees took place April 13-14 and was highlighted by the election of new board officers and approval of the 2017-2018 budget. In addition, seven retiring faculty were recognized, as were five student-athletes who have received national recognition.
Randal B. Kell ’69 presided over his final meeting as chair, a position he has held since 2013. He has served on the board since 1994, and his 23 years as a trustee also include six years as vice chair. To honor his outstanding service and leadership, the board elected him to Life Trustee status, a distinction currently enjoyed by only three other trustees.
To fill his position, Mark E. Nunnelly ’80, current vice chair of the board, was elected to the position of chair. James C. Seabury III ’87, who currently chairs the $200 million Third Century Campaign, was elected vice chair. Crit L. Luallen ’74 was voted to a second term as board secretary. Other board officers include John A. Roush, president of the College, and Yvonne York Morley, assistant secretary.
A native of Kentucky, Nunnelly double majored in government and history at Centre. He began his career at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, and then furthered his education at the Harvard Business School, where he earned his MBA. After a 30-year career with Bain & Company and Bain Capital, Nunnelly stepped down as managing partner of Bain to begin a new career in public service. He has held several positions in Massachusetts state government: commissioner of the Department of Revenue, special advisor to the governor, and CEO of MA IT, the state’s technology operations. Nunnelly was first elected to the board in 1999.
Seabury, a math major at Centre, also holds a degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt. A member of the board of trustees since 2003, he serves as chairman and CEO of Enterprise Electric in Nashville, Tenn.
Luallen, a Centre art major, began a career in politics immediately after graduation and is one of Kentucky’s most admired public officials, most notably for her terms as auditor of public accounts. The descendant of two Kentucky governors, Luallen worked with three governors before eventually serving as Kentucky’s 56th lieutenant governor. She has served as a trustee since 1998.
The meeting’s plenary session featured presentations by Brian Hutzley, CFO, vice president and treasurer; Brad Fields, director of athletics and recreation; and Milton Reigelman, outgoing director of the Center for Global Citizenship.
The 2017-2018 budget presented by Hutzley includes a modest 2.9 percent annual increase of $1,430 to the comprehensive fee, bringing the total to $50,680. At the same time, an institutional aid budget of $31,670,000 was approved, as well as a reduction in the endowment draw. Hutzley also discussed his efforts to strengthen data analytics and recent work with Chief Planning Officer Patrick Noltemeyer to initiate work on a new Campus Master Plan.
Fields introduced the trustees to five outstanding female student-athletes, four of whom received All-America honors this year: seniors Nicole DeHerde (field hockey), Serena Gale-Butto (cross country) and Destinie Graves (soccer), as well as junior Sarah Hayhurst (diving). First-year Kendall Yount was also recognized for winning the 2017 American Taekwondo Association Spring Nationals and the gold medal at the 2017 National Collegiate Championships. She will compete at both the World Championship in Arkansas and World University Games in Taiwan this summer.
Reigelman, retiring after 46 years at the College, discussed the current state of study abroad at Centre, a program that he has built to national prominence. He was also honored at a Friday afternoon luncheon program that included highlights of an impressive career involving work as both a faculty member in the English program and a senior administrator, including a time as acting president. After being presented with a trustee resolution honoring his service and many contributions to College life, President Roush announced a generous anonymous gift to establish the Milton Reigelman Study Abroad Fund. This will support deserving students who might need assistance with the modest fees associated with study abroad at Centre.
Within separate committee meetings, other important business was addressed.
Bob Nesmith, dean of admission and financial aid, reported that deposits from admitted students are tracking ahead of last year’s numbers in advance of the May 1 national deposit deadline. The incoming class is represented so far by continued growth in numbers of first-generation students, along with increasing strength in terms of diversity and academic profile. He also reported positively on the recent premier scholarship weekend that brought finalists for the competitive Brown, Grissom and Lincoln scholarships.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephanie Fabritius recognized stellar contributions to the College by thanking seven retiring faculty for their service to Centre. These include Beth Glazier-McDonald, former associate dean and H.W. Stodgill Jr. and Adele H. Stodgill Professor of Religion; Professor of Dramatic Arts Anthony Haigh; C. Thomas McCollough, Nelson D. and Mary McDowell Rodes Professor of Religion; Professor of Chemistry H. Edward Montgomery Jr.; Phyllis Passariello, W. George Matton Professor of Anthropology; Professor of English Milton Reigelman, who also serves as special assistant to the president and director of the Center for Global Citizenship; and Professor of Economics Steven Winch.
Related, the board approved nine new tenure-track faculty: Amanda Falk (biology), Kristen Fulfer (chemistry), Jennifer Goff (dramatic arts), Petra Hendrickson (international studies), Chantell Limerick (Spanish), Daniel Scott (chemistry), Robert Seebacher (music), Jamie Shenton (anthropology) and Shunan Zhao (economics).
The trustees also approved the graduating class of 2017 (pending final approval in May based on the successful completion of degree requirements) and voted on tenure and promotion decisions.
In addition, Fabritius updated the trustees on work related to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation diversity initiative, particularly efforts under way to fill three new tenure-track positions in the areas of art, mathematics and sociology. Centre received $750,000 in 2015 from Mellon to launch a four-year effort to enhance diversity and inclusion. She also highlighted this year’s 10th annual RICE symposium held April 13 that featured student work in the areas of Research, Internships and Creative Endeavors. A total of 87 presentations took place, with 55 oral presentations, 32 poster presentations, a film and an art exhibit.
A fundraising update presented by Shawn Lyons, vice president for development and alumni engagement, highlighted ongoing achievements with Centre’s $200 million Third Century Campaign and annual giving efforts. Now more than 72 percent complete, current campaign fundraising totals have reached $145,629,930. Current annual gifts have already reached an impressive $15,455,546 raised from 5,930 donors, a nearly 10 percent increase in donors year-to-date. Alumni participation rates, an area where Centre has been a national leader for decades, are also tracking higher than last year.
As part of campaign fundraising efforts, the trustees approved creation of several new scholarships in connection with a $20 million Lincoln Challenge initiative to match the generous gift responsible for creation of the newest premier scholarship at Centre, the Lincoln Scholars Program.
Based on proceeds from an estate gift created by Alfred P. Jobson, four full-ride-plus scholarships will honor Jobson, his wife, Katherine P. Jobson, their step-son and Centre trustee Henry Meigs, and Henry’s wife, Sally Meigs. Additional proceeds from the gift will establish the Henry and Sally Meigs Fund to support programming for the Norton Center for the Arts.
In addition, proceeds from another estate gift, from Sarah Jo Huff Collins, have been used to create the Lincoln-Huff Collins Scholarship. Additional proceeds from the gift will establish the Sarah Jo Huff Collins Collaborative Research Fund to support work involving Centre students and faculty.
In other College business, a motion to amend the bylaws to include inviting the president of staff congress to attend and report at trustee meetings was approved unanimously.
In addition, five trustees were re-elected to serve six-year terms that continue through June 30, 2023: John R. Barton ’79, Rutherford B. (Biff) Campbell Jr. ’66, Mark E. Nunnelly ’80, Peggy Purdom Patterson ’61 and George W. Privett Jr.
James L. Rogers III, who has served on the board for 28 years, was named an emeritus trustee.
The next meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees is scheduled for Oct. 19-20 on Centre’s campus.
by Michael Strysick
April 14, 2017