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Updates from September 2020 Board of Managers Meeting

Dear Friends,

We write with brief updates from the virtual Board of Managers meeting late last month. 

The Board began its time together hearing from Provost and Dean of the Faculty Sarah Willie-LeBreton and Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Terhune about the extraordinary efforts of this community to adapt all elements of the student experience amid the challenges of this moment. 

As you might imagine, the pandemic and economic uncertainty have created pressures on the College’s budget. Thanks to good and careful stewardship of the College’s resources, we have been able to minimize the impact of these pressures and continue to live into our values.

In the coming weeks, you will hear from President Val Smith about planning for the spring semester and from Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Brown regarding details of the budget the Board approved in September. Although Greg will provide more detail later this month, cost-saving measures instituted last spring and a substantial increase in spending from the endowment this year allow us to continue to meet the full demonstrated financial need of our students while maintaining our commitments to faculty and staff.

Besides approval of the budget, the other official business before the Board was approval of the audited financial statement, which is now available online, and a related enabling resolution required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

We also heard from Interim Vice President for Advancement Liam McAlpine, who reported on the Changing Lives, Changing the World campaign, which concluded on June 30 and raised $440.5 million in support of financial aid, the construction of Maxine Frank Singer Hall and the Matchbox, the creation of the Hormel-Nguyen Intercultural Center, the establishment of the Aydelotte Foundation, the endowment of the Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program, the funding of five professorships, and the initial funding for the Dining and Community Commons, among other critically important initiatives.

The Board also provided input to the Mission Statement Committee, reacting to a draft they developed in consultation with the campus community last academic year. The committee plans to finalize the statement in December.

Missing from this meeting were the opportunities to see faculty, students, and staff members that add energy and purpose to our in-person meetings. We expect to have a series of plenary sessions this year to learn from the community as Swarthmore continues to navigate the pandemic. 


Valerie Smith,

Salem Shuchman ’84,
Chair, Board of Managers