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Updates from May 2019 Board of Managers Meeting

Dear Friends,

We write with brief updates from last weekend’s Board of Managers meeting.

Prior to the start of our official meetings, we hosted 25 faculty members and 12 Managers in President Smith’s home for the third in a series of dinners designed to build a stronger relationship between faculty members and Managers. These dinners have proved enormously successful, and we look forward to supporting similar opportunities in the future.  

During our first plenary session, President Smith shared with the Board her decisions related to the recommendations she received from the Task Force for Student Social Events and Community Standards. The Board fully supports her decisions, as well as the deliberative and consultative process of the task force. We recognize this has been a difficult semester for many of our students and others in our community. Our hope is that we can move forward by envisioning a rich and inclusive campus social life that enables our diverse community to thrive and empowering students to work together to create such an atmosphere.

Our second plenary session focused on “Interconnected Strategies for Facilities Infrastructure and Sustainability.” Sustainability Director Aurora Winslade and Associate Vice President for Sustainable Facilities Operation and Capital Planning Andy Feick discussed some of the College’s aging infrastructure and its long-term energy needs—and provided updates on our “Roadmap to Zero” efforts to achieve our stated carbon neutrality goals. Managers expressed great enthusiasm for these efforts, as well as other sustainability efforts the College has undertaken. The Roadmap to Zero is still underway, and there are not yet cost estimates involved.

We began dinner on Friday evening with the announcement that the Lang family has decided to name our newest and largest academic building in honor of noted molecular biologist Maxine Frank Singer ’52. On behalf of the Lang family and the Lang Foundation, Lucy Lang ’03 encouraged the broader Swarthmore community to consider other opportunities to name spaces within the building after pioneering Swarthmoreans. The Board responded by collectively committing $160,000 the following day to recognize spaces within the building after two other Swarthmore women scientists: Professor of Biology Amy Cheng Vollmer and psychologist, ethicist, and educator Carol Gilligan ’58. The first phase of Singer Hall opens this summer.

Committee Meetings

The ad hoc Faculty Compensation Committee had a productive conversation and is considering multiple models and reference groups for its work.

The Finance Committee approved the College’s operating budget for 2019-20 and, in conjunction with the Property Committee, also approved next year’s capital budget. Both budgets were approved by the full Board on Saturday.

The Admissions and Financial Aid Committee heard updates from Jim Bock ’90 on the Class of 2023. The Student Affairs Committee continued a conversation on student social life.  

Academic Affairs Committee recommended the promotion of Writing Associates Program Director Jill Gladstein to full professor, which the Board approved. The committee also sought and received approval by the Board for the members of the Class of 2019 to graduate, pending approval by the faculty for each member of the class.

The Development and Communications Committee discussed progress of the Changing Lives, Changing the World campaign. Audit and Risk Management received an update on diversity and inclusion efforts from Associate Athletics Director Nnenna Akotaobi, Human Resources Manager Zenobia Hargust,

The Social Responsibility Committee heard presentations from the Presidential Sustainability Research Fellows and the Lang Opportunity Scholars, which were a highlight for those who attended.

The Board recognized six Managers whose terms on the Board have now ended: Vincent Jones ’98, Jaky Joseph ’06, Jane Lang ’67, Bennett Lorber ’64, H’96, James Lovelace ’79, and Cathy Polinsky ’99. The Board designated Jang Lang and Bennett Lorber as emeriti Managers, in recognition of their longstanding commitment to the College. The Board approved four new members, who will be announced in September in advance of the next Board meeting.

As the semester draws to a close, we are preparing to celebrate the Class of 2019. We know you will join us in congratulating them and wishing them well as they begin the next chapter of their lives.  

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

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