Report from the Board of Trustees
The Kenyon College Board of Trustees convened in Cleveland last week. The primary business of the winter meeting was to review the operating budget for the 2019–20 fiscal year, which the board approved at $160,845,000. Highlights include:
- The operating budget for fiscal year 2019–20 reflects a 3.95 percent increase in total student charges, which will rise to $71,150 for the next academic year.
- The commitment to student financial aid was increased to $40,695,000 — an increase of 8.7 percent over fiscal year 2018–19.
- An increase in the general salary pool was set at 2 percent. Additional money was set aside to target salaries lagging the marketplace. Pay increases for union members are dictated by contract.
Beyond the budget, board discussion centered on the second priority of the Kenyon 2020 strategic plan: “strategically use resources to attract, retain and graduate an academically excellent and diverse student body.” On Thursday evening, trustees heard from a panel of Kenyon faculty, students, alumni and Cleveland-area educators about the College’s pioneering early-college programs, Kenyon Academic Partnership (KAP) and Camp 4. Each year, KAP enrolls about 1,200 high school students in Kenyon courses offered in 22 high schools in Ohio. The discussion focused on the impact of KAP and the College on secondary education in Cleveland and the role of these programs in boosting recruitment and enrollment to Kenyon.
On Friday morning, the discussion shifted to retention and graduation, focusing on the new pattern of behavior seen in the current generation of students and its impact on College resources. The board heard perspectives from both College and secondary-school educators including: Robin Hart Ruthenbeck, dean of students; Tom Hawks, dean of academic advising; and heads of two Cleveland-area independent schools.
In other business:
- President Decatur updated the board on the Kenyon 2020 strategic plan and outlined upcoming institutional milestones, including the 50th anniversary of coeducation, reaccreditation and the bicentennial.
- The Buildings and Grounds Committee heard updates on current and upcoming capital projects, including the West Quad.
- The Campaign Leadership Committee reported on the progress of the Our Path Forward campaign, which has raised more than $232 million in gifts and pledges to date.
- The board adopted a memorial resolution honoring Emeritus Trustee Robert Koe.