March Highlights from the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees held its third regular meeting of the year on Thursday, March 27. The meeting began on a very high note with the announcement that alumnus and Trustee, John C. Meditz ’70, has made a new $10 million gift to the University on top of additional previous gifts in recent years. In announcing the gift, Mr. Meditz noted his support for the strategic priorities and direction of the University and encouraged and challenged others to join him in making new or increased gifts to Fairfield.
Following updates from University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., and Executive Vice President Kevin Lawlor on the ongoing strategic planning process, the Board reviewed the proposed University and Prep School budgets for 2015 and subsequently approved them.
The planned 2% undergraduate tuition increase for 2014-15 is the lowest in Fairfield’s modern history and is projected to be at or among the lowest for peer and competitor institutions. The administration noted its dedication and focus on keeping the cost of a Fairfield education within the reach of students and families while balancing a number of important metrics including class size and enrollment, discount rate, tuition increases, gross and net costs versus relevant peers, operating margin levels, and cost containment.
Dr. Mark Reed, Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief of Staff and Interim Vice President for University Advancement, joined by Robert Kissane of the firm CCS, then updated the Board on fundraising activities.
Among the items reported to the Board through its various committee reports were the following: (1) a brief report on the joint meeting of the Academic Affairs and Finance committees about the updated academic portfolio analysis which now included FY13 and FY12 academic and financial metrics to consider the relative contribution margins of various programs, departments, and schools by reviewing factors such as gross revenues, instructional costs, section sizes, (2) a status update on applications and admission for the undergraduate Class of 2018, which reflects an almost 4% increase in applications and a high-level of interest and engagement on the part of prospective students and families, (3) recognition of the administration’s response to be vigilant in both being proactive and responsive to addressing sexual assault or violence on campus, (4) information about the post-graduation survey of undergraduates to track outcomes related to employment, graduate study, or service, and (5) a review of the University’s analysis of potential strategic property acquisition adjacent to the campus.
Finally, over lunch prior to the Board meeting, Dr. Donald Gibson, dean of the Dolan School of Business, made a presentation to the Board about the state of the business school today and goals and plans for the future.