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Latest Board Report

Latest Board Report

Dear Friend of Union –

The Board of Trustees met May 11-12 during a ReUnion Weekend that welcomed more than 2,000 members of the Union family and celebrated the contributions of a number of alumni as well as President Stephen Ainlay and Judith Gardner Ainlay.

The Board paid tribute to Life Trustee Norton Reamer ’58, who since 1973 has been an integral part the Board and the College. Norton’s list of contributions is long: board chair, chair of the Bicentennial Campaign, valued member of the Board’s Admissions and Investment committees. Norton has been a strong supporter of Union, perhaps most visibly in the renovation of the Reamer Campus Center, which is named in memory of his parents, Murray and Ruth. Recently, he has supported the Integrated Science and Engineering Complex. We have been truly privileged to have Norton as a steadfast friend of the College.

The Board said thank you and farewell to a number of valuable members. They are Faculty Trustee Scott Kirkton, Student Trustee Michael Lippman ’18 and Alumni Trustees Susanna Ryan Berger ’99 and Michael Newell ’74. Also leaving the board are Jim Lippman ’79, David Mixer ’74 and James Taylor ’66. The Board has been truly fortunate to have such dedicated and loyal alumni.

At ReUnion, Donald Foley ’73, Timothy McCabe ’73 and Mark Webster ’88 received the Alumni Gold Medal for their dedication to Union over the years. The Class of 1968 received the Anable Cup for greatest ReUnion participation, while the Class of 1953 received the McClellan Cup for greatest class percentage. The Class of 1978 clinched the Van Voast/Class of 1941 Cup for best costume. And the Class of 1958 won the Class of 1943 ReUnion Award for greatest ReUnion effort.

The weekend also featured three panels, one a group of eight alumni discussing their Watson Fellowship in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the travel-study program. Several alumni shared their experiences on diversity and inclusion. Five alumni spoke at a roundtable on data analytics.

Academic Affairs

Construction of the new Integrated Science and Engineering Complex continues on time and on budget with departments set to move in starting in July. The renovation of the remaining complex is on schedule for completion in the fall of 2019. After years of planning and execution, this important project will transform the entire Union community.

Union students have earned a number of prestigious fellowships, including a highly-coveted Truman Scholarship. We are pleased that Union has again been named a top producer of Fulbright Awards.

The Board was pleased to recognize six outstanding faculty. Roger Hoerl and Kim Plofger of Mathematics and Krisanna Scheiter of Philosophy were granted tenure and promoted to associate professor. Megan Ferry and Daniel Mosquera of Modern Languages and David Gillikin of Geology were promoted to full professor.

Administration and Finance

Recent initiatives aimed at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness include paperless time and attendance software, replacing time sheets that are distributed every two weeks. Other software is streamlining the contract review process while implementing tighter controls and improving the applicant tracking process for Human Resources.

Admissions

Union continues to be a highly desirable college. In early May, we received deposits for 605 first-year students, putting us on target for a class of 570 to 580. Union admitted 39 percent of applicants (2,614 from a record 6,716 applications). In what may be the strongest indicator of desirability among high school seniors, our early decision applications were at an all-time high.

College Relations

Union has long been privileged to have the financial support of our many friends. Thanks to this support, we are nearing the $5 million mark in the Annual Fund that this year honors the service of Stephen and Judith Ainlay.

Communications and Marketing had one of its most successful media placements. A story about the discovery of a lock of George Washington’s hair in a book in Schaffer Library’s Special Collections had a reported 2,933 media mentions for a potential reach of one billion impressions.

Diversity

Recent events aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion included the fifth annual Next Step Social Justice Retreat, which offers students a forum to develop leadership skills in taking on issues of social justice. African American History Month featured a panel on Union’s popular Civil Rights Mini-Term. Women’s History Month brought a screening and discussion of the film Dolores about Dolores Huerta, a labor and civil rights leader who has co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association. We honor Viki Brooks, director of Religious and Spiritual Life and campus Protestant minister, who is retiring after more than 20 years at Union. We are indebted for her leadership in assisting all students to explore and discover spirituality in many forms.

Facilities

Work is well underway for an addition to Grant Hall for a presentation and communication space that will greatly enhance our impression to prospective students and families. When completed this fall, the facility will also serve as a state-of-the-art meeting center for the board and other campus organizations. Other projects include the planning phase for an Arts Courtyard, generously donated by the Foley family, for the area bordered by Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts, Taylor Music Center and the Henle Dance Pavilion. Trustee Kelly Williams ’86 has supported the renovation of 631 Nott Street to become the headquarters for Campus Safety. This project also will upgrade the Nott Street corridor and stabilize a neighborhood along the College perimeter.

Investment

We are pleased to report that the College’s endowment has reached an all-time high of $450 million. Performance for the fiscal year to date was 7.6 percent, ahead of a budgeted expectation of 6.5 percent and a composite benchmark portfolio of 7.2 percent.

Student Affairs

Among initiatives in Student Affairs, the Becker Career Center has been developing ways to make career services more central to the College’s educational mission. They include partnerships through College Relations with key alumni to develop internship and employment opportunities, and with Admissions to tell the compelling stories about opportunities at Union.

If you attended ReUnion, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is truly an exciting time for Union College. On behalf of the Board, I thank you for your support of this great College and for telling the Union story to succeeding generations of students.

John E. Kelly III ’76
Chairman