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Updates from February 2019 Board of Managers Meeting

Dear Friends,

As part of an ongoing effort to improve communication within the College community, we plan to send updates following each Board of Managers meeting.

Our recent Board meeting on campus included a full and productive schedule.

The ad-hoc Faculty Compensation Committee, made up of four faculty members, two administrators, and three Board members, met for the second time and discussed compensation philosophy, appropriate peer institution comparisons, and challenges to and advantages of our salary model. The members of the committee engaged each other and learned about the range of models other schools employ from our consulting partners.

The Finance Committee proposed—and the full Board approved—the revenue side of the budget for the 2019-20 academic year. As the College completes our budgeting process for next year’s expenses, we now know the parameters within which we must work. The expense side of the budget will be presented for approval at the Board’s May meeting.

The Investment Committee provided to the Board a thorough update of the endowment. The College now relies on the endowment for 55 percent of the overall budget, up from 43 percent just a decade ago. The endowment is even more important than ever in ensuring that the College can maintain socioeconomic diversity through its need-blind admission, full-need-met financial aid policies. The Investment Committee reported 12.4 percent return for the year ended June 30, 2018, and Swarthmore’s endowment continues to perform well compared to peer institutions, despite a comparatively small Investment Office.

After review by the Academic Affairs Committee, the College approved recommendations of faculty members for tenure and promotion, which were announced at this afternoon’s faculty meeting.

Development and Communications Committee members received an in-depth report on the progress of the Changing Lives, Changing the World campaign, which is at a critical juncture. In order to meet our fundraising goal by June 2020, we will need to accelerate the pace of the campaign. During the full Board discussion of this topic, Managers Jane and Lucy Lang surprised the Board with their announcement to fund the renovation of Lang Music Building.

The Property Committee discussed several important facilities initiatives, including plans to address our deferred maintenance backlog through a process that weighs both the structural and programmatic challenges for each building. This work is being coordinated with the campus's energy master planning efforts, the Roadmap to Zero. Through these efforts, the College is striving to meet its carbon neutrality goals. In addition, the Committee received updates on the initial stages of the planning process for the renovation and expansion of Sharples, and the construction of the BEP.

Over a lunchtime plenary with about 40 student-athletes and coaches, Managers heard testimonials about the importance of varsity athletics and club sports in the overall Swarthmore experience.

Admissions and Financial Aid Committee members discussed the College’s continued desire for greater socioeconomic diversity.

Several faculty members invited Managers to sit in on their classes Friday morning. Those Managers, who spread themselves over five different classes, later shared how much they enjoyed the opportunity to be in the classroom again.

After a full weekend of activities, 14 Managers and 25 faculty members enjoyed dinner at Salem Shuchman’s home in Philadelphia. This was the second of three such dinners being hosted this year in a continuing effort to build a stronger relationship between the Board and the faculty.

Sincerely,

Valerie Smith, President
Salem Shuchman ’84, Chair, Board of Managers

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