The fall 2017 meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees took place Oct. 19-20 and was highlighted by the approval of new scholarships, discussion of efforts related to a new campus master plan and a report on continued success in student recruitment.
This was also the first meeting for three new trustees, who will be joined at the winter meeting by two newly elected members. Ben Beaton ’03, Craig Hille ’97 and Rick Riney ’79 were sworn in by Crit Luallen ’74, secretary of the board. Jennie P. Carlson ’82 and Sandra Frazier were elected as new members and will begin their terms in January 2018.
In addition to a busy schedule of separate committee meetings, trustees also heard reports in their full meeting of the board by Lori Hartmann, faculty president; Lisa Swem, Alumni Association president; Shana Schepman, Staff Congress president; and Kirby Fitzpatrick, Student Government Association president.
The meeting’s plenary session focused on a budget update by CFO Brian Hutzley, who with Chief Planning Officer Patrick Noltemeyer also presented the first draft of a new campus master plan created in partnership with St. Louis-based firm Hastings+Chivetta.
Bob Nesmith, Centre’s dean of admission and financial aid, also discussed how recruitment success the last several years compares with national trends, highlighting Centre’s successive accomplishments to grow enrollment modestly at the same time that the overall academic profile and diversity has strengthened.
In other meetings, and as part of a broader report on the continued success of the $200 million Third Century Campaign, Vice President Shawn Lyons, Centre’s chief development and alumni engagement officer, asked trustees to approve creation of four new scholarships. Sixty-five percent of the campaign goal is devoted to new endowment for student support.
The Milton Reigelman Study Abroad Fund honors the recently retired director of the Center for Global Citizenship, who served at Centre for 46 years as a faculty member and in a variety of other key roles. The fund will assist deserving students who otherwise might struggle to afford even the modest costs associated with study abroad at Centre.
Related, the Matthews Family Study Abroad Award Fund assists the costs of study abroad for students with demonstrated financial need, with strong preference given to students from Tennessee. Established by Blakeley D. Matthews ’83, the gift honors his parents, J. Payson Matthews III and Genie Matthews, parents and grandparents of Centre College alumni and longtime friends of the College.
The Nayef Samhat Prize Fund, established by Jared Cutright ’05, recognizes the graduating senior major in international studies who shows the greatest promise to advance peace and justice in international affairs. Samhat taught at Centre and was also associate dean before moving on to serve as provost at Kenyon College and now as president of Wofford College.
Finally, the Klein Family Scholarship Fund, established by Bertram W. Klein in honor of his grandchildren, Chelsea ’14 and Casey Klein ’18, supports Kentucky students with demonstrated financial need, with a preference for residents of Jefferson County.
Lyons also reported that the past year was only the second time total annual giving exceeded $20 million and that 2016-17 giving was greater than the two prior years combined. As of Oct. 18, total campaign commitments stand at $157,618,667 (79 percent of the goal).
Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephanie Fabritius talked about Centre’s growing international population, which now comprises students from 13 countries: Brazil, Burma, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom (including England and N. Ireland) and Vietnam.
In addition, she reported on exciting initiatives associated with the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan called “Creative Centre” that came about through the recent reaffirmation of accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Several new Learn, Inquire and Network at Centre (LINC) courses will be offered, for instance. LINC courses are thematically linked classes. Students take both sets of courses and the professors attend the course they are not teaching.
Fabritius also presented the trustees with a request to approve sabbaticals for 11 faculty members.
Vice President Randy Hays, Centre’s dean of students, along with Associate Vice President Rodmon King, Centre’s chief diversity officer, reported on the range of ongoing efforts in support of diversity and inclusion. This included discussion of an on-going, campus-wide climate survey on these issues.
With the Nov. 3 men’s basketball exhibition game coming up between the Centre College Colonels and University of Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena, Athletic Director Brad Fields ’98 reminded trustees that the two teams have played each other 44 times, dating back to 1906. In fact, Kentucky’s worst-ever defeat was against Centre, when the Colonels won 87-17 on Jan. 28, 1910.
Kay Drake, vice president for human resources and administrative services, who also serves as the College’s Title IX coordinator, provided an update on efforts related to sexual misconduct. In particular, Drake discussed a recent project developed in conjunction with the student advisory group Students for Prevention Education and Advocacy in the Community (SPEAC), which co-sponsored the recent “It’s On Us Week of Action.” The related events were designed to continue conversations about the way we think and talk about sexual assault.
Outside of the meetings, trustees enjoyed a presentation at the Thursday evening dinner by glass artist Stephen Rolfe Powell ’74 and ceramicist Kensuke Yamada called “2,000 Degrees: A Fire Odyssey,” which highlighted an exhibit at the Norton Center for the Arts created by its executive director, Steve Hoffman.
The following day, at the Friday luncheon, trustees learned firsthand from current Centre students about the many exciting internships that take place.
Emma King ’18 talked about her internship in the Czech Republic and Salzburg, Austria, with the Prague Summer Nights young artist music festival. Cameron Beach ’18 discussed her four internships in as many years, most recently in Ghana with Saha Global providing access to safe drinking water and also with Danville’s pay-what-you-can Grace Café. She credits the experiences with her recent acceptance to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi. John Wilson ’19 spoke about his Cleveland Clinic internship at the Stephanie Tubbs Health Center supported through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty.
The next meeting of the Centre College Board of Trustees is scheduled for Jan. 26-27 in Louisville.
by Michael Strysick
October 23, 2017