Academic Affairs and Campus Life Committee
The committee received a short briefing on the elements that go into the University's Carnegie Classification as a "baccalaureate college -- arts and sciences." These factors include the number of enrolled students, number of master's degrees awarded and percent of degrees awarded in liberal arts fields. Using this classification system, the Carnegie Foundation groups schools together for comparative use by those conducting research studies on higher education, by grant makers and by others who need a framework for comparing institutions. The committee also held an extended executive session led by committee chairman Trustee David Scadden about its own composition.
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Development and External Relations Committee
Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations Scott Rosevear reported that this fiscal year is off to a strong start with contributions up about 17 percent to nearly $35 million. On April 24 Bucknell will repeat its highly successful day of giving on social media, which last year raised $890,000 against a $100,000 goal in a 24-hour period. The 2014 initiative will include a $250,000 trustee challenge to match donations received that day. Director of Gift Planning Melissa Diehl also gave a highly informative update on planned gifts and the planning gift process. Such gifts are a significant and growing source of contributions for Bucknell.
Scott also reported that with the two Florida events, the WE DO Campaign has so far completed eight events at which it has hosted more than 1,500 unique guests. Bucknell has received several significant gifts from donors inspired by the events.
Upcoming WE DO Campaign events:
Vice President for Enrollment Management Bill Conley provided the Finance Committee with an update on recruitment for the Class of 2018. Applications are down by about 1% compared to last year, but we expect to yield a strong, diverse and high-achieving class from the applicant pool.
Vice President for Finance & Administration Dave Surgala provided the committee with a brief update on a Faculty Total Compensation Survey the University commissioned from Sibson Consulting. Sibson completed its initial study in fall 2013, providing us with a survey and analysis of faculty compensation and other practices across 22 peer and aspirant colleges and universities. The high degree of participation and the depth of the report provide us with an excellent base of substantial and credible data to use as a reference for investing in faculty development and support. We intend to build on this information and will engage the faculty in discussions about the 2014-15 version of the study.
Dave also updated the committee on authorizing new debt in 2014. The committee unanimously approved a motion authorizing the University to incur up to $50,000,000 in indebtedness, consisting of tax-exempt or taxable revenue bonds, to finance the student housing and commons area now under construction and other potential capital projects.
The committee reviewed capital projects, including the four new residence halls set to open in fall 2015. The design for the commons is nearly complete. These projects will fall within the project budget the board had previously approved. The meeting ended with a discussion of the University's Integrated Financial Model and the challenges for balancing the FY15 budget and especially the FY16 budget, which will be impacted by the full operating and debt costs for the new student housing.
Calendar-year 2013 achieved a milestone in year-end asset value for the endowment, which stood at $714 million. The quarterly spend to the University on January 1 and the recent decline in public equity markets now puts the fund at closer to $700 million.
The Investment Committee discussed the current investment climate and opportunities for 2014. This is a difficult time to invest for the long term, with expected returns lower than usual. We are increasing the inflation protection component of our asset allocation, while industrial real estate appears most compelling as another option.
The committee also discussed the conflicts of interest component of the board-approved investment policy and will discuss the matter further at its April meeting.
The committee will host the fifth annual Bucknell Investment Conference on Wednesday, June 11, at the Yale Club in Manhattan. The conference brings together Bucknell experts in the finance industry to share their knowledge with alumni and other guests.
Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
Our independent auditors, KPMG, reviewed the procedures for Bucknell's NCAA/intercollegiate athletics revenue and expenses and found no areas of concern. Additionally, KMPG compiled a summary of issues and best practices of audit committees in higher education, showing that committees are devoting time and resources to ethics and technology and security. The committee also reviewed recent reports and presentations on Bucknell's internal audit activities, insurance risks and Enterprise Risk Management initiatives.
Office of the President