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Contributed on behalf of Tom Grape ’80, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and David Lissy ’87, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees.

As we conclude another academic year, we want to once again express our admiration and appreciation for the accomplishments of the entire Ithaca College community. At our recent Board of Trustees meeting — which took place leading up to Commencement weekend — we had the opportunity to engage with a great many students, faculty, staff, and alumni, who show time and again how they contribute to making IC such a tremendous learning environment. 

On behalf of the entire board, we would like to share news from the meeting. We have several important decisions to announce, but first, we want to congratulate our 11 newly promoted faculty members. Faculty are truly the heart of the college, and we appreciate their dedication to our students, their professions, and the college. 

We also would like to congratulate the seven newly elected trustees, whose terms will begin June 1, 2017. Michael J. Conover ’81, Jack H. Dembow ’77, David Fleisher II ’91, Gary J. Gross ’81, William J. Nelligan III ’83, and Jeffrey J. Selingo ’95 were all elected as term trustees, and James E. Taylor ’00 was elected as alumni trustee. You can read more about them in the announcement story, and their complete bios will be posted soon to the trustees website. The board also named Lawrence M. Alleva '71, who served as a trustee from 1987 to 2014, and served twice as vice chair, as honorary trustee.

Finally, we would like to thank four departing trustees for their longtime service to the college: Adelaide Gomer; Stephen C. McCluski ’74; Arrien C. Schiltkamp ’78, Parent ’16; and Kurt J. Wolfgruber ’72.

Inclusive Excellence and Campus Climate 
In October 2016 the board passed a resolution to affirm and support the college's commitment to inclusive excellence. One part of that resolution called for updating the college's mission and vision statements to include language about this commitment. The updating process was led by Brian Dickens, vice president for human resources, and Dr. Roger “Doc” Richardson, interim chief diversity officer and associate provost for diversity, inclusion, and engagement. They held collaboration and review sessions with a wide range of campus constituencies, including the campus governance councils,
organizations from across campus that focus directly on diversity and inclusion, administrative leadership, and many others. At our May meeting, the board passed a resolution accepting the revised language, which is now posted on the “Mission and Vision” web page. 

The board also heard a presentation on key findings from the 2016 Campus Climate Survey from Doc Richardson, and discussed what steps are being planned to improve the climate based on the findings. We look forward to collaborating with the campus community and with incoming president Shirley M. Collado on those efforts. 

Shared Governance 
In October 2015, the board requested that a task force be formed to review IC’s current system of shared governance and propose revisions. In the ensuing months, the task force, comprised of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, worked tirelessly and diligently on this important work. They documented our current model, consulted models at other institutions, drafted a proposed model for consideration, and gathered feedback from campus constituents along the way.

At our recent meeting the board received the task force’s final report and heard from members not only about the work they conducted, but about the desires and concerns expressed by the campus community. The board passed a resolution expressing our deep gratitude to the task force for the collaborative, dedicated, and insightful work that they conducted, and to everyone in the campus community who provided input.

The task force’s report will serve as a vital resource for our new president, the Board of Trustees, our incoming campus governance councils, and others who care about governance at IC. These invaluable insights into the desires and goals of the campus community related to governance at Ithaca College will provide a rich and robust foundation for future work around communication, collaboration, and effective engagement under Shirley Collado’s leadership. 

Recognition for President Rochon
We had the opportunity during our meetings to say farewell and thank you for outgoing president Thomas R. Rochon’s dedicated service to Ithaca College.

A hallmark of Tom’s tenure as president has been his steadfast commitment to making the IC experience affordable, accessible, and uncompromisingly excellent. His efforts resulted in the lowest annual tuition increases in the college’s history, which enabled IC to attract and retain the best students, regardless of their financial means.  

In honor of his dedication to this important ideal and to his impact on the long-term health of the college, I am pleased to announce that when he retires on June 30, Tom Rochon will receive the designation of president emeritus, in recognition of his achievements on behalf of Ithaca College. In receiving this designation, Tom will join the distinguished company of Howard I. Dillingham, Ellis L. Phillips, James J. Whalen, and Peggy R. Williams, the most recent four presidents of Ithaca College immediately preceding Tom’s tenure.

It is also our great pleasure to announce that the college has established — through generous gifts from trustees, staff, and other donors — the Thomas R. Rochon Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded to high-achieving incoming students who have financial need. It is our hope that this scholarship will not only transform the lives of its recipients, but will serve as a fitting tribute to Tom’s deep commitment to reducing barriers to educational access and affordability. 

The President's Residence 
After more than a year of analysis and discussion, the board has concluded that Fountain Place, the home of the Ithaca College president since the college purchased the property in 1938, will no longer be used as a residence. The home, which is more than 120 years old, is a part of IC’s history. For some years, however, the house's age, location, and floor plan have posed mounting financial and logistical challenges, as the college has tried to keep up with repair needs on an aging home, ensure a comfortable living space for the presidents and their families and guests, and maintain a venue suitable for large events that are customarily hosted by the president.  

Before Shirley Collado was identified as our final candidate, we decided that the next president would not live in Fountain Place. Once Shirley was named president, we worked together to determine the most suitable temporary residence for the needs that she, her husband, A. Van Jordan, and the college would have. For the coming academic year, the college has rented an apartment downtown, close to campus, to serve as the president’s home, and presidential events will be held on campus and at local venues. This decision will give us some time to choose the most prudent long-term approach to the president's residence, and to study Fountain Place without causing undue disruptions for Shirley and Van. We are grateful that they graciously embraced the prospect of living in this temporary home while we plan next steps.  

We are committed to providing a home for the Ithaca College president that is also a welcoming space for the IC community; it is a vital extension of our close-knit culture. We will keep you updated as we determine the best path forward for Fountain Place and for the next home for Ithaca College’s presidents. In the meantime, we're certain that our next president will enjoy being part of the vibrant downtown Ithaca community this year! 

Community Engagement 
Our board members enjoyed several opportunities to meet both formally and informally with campus constituencies, including a breakfast with the executive committees of Faculty Council, Staff Council, and Student Governance Council, as well as a reception with members of Administrative Assembly. The board’s Educational Affairs Committee also met separately with the Faculty Council Executive Committee.  

We were delighted to take part in a special luncheon to recognize those who contributed to the 2017 Senior Class Gift Campaign, which this year had a 30% participation rate and raised more than $10,500 from 443 donors to support the Ithaca College Annual Fund. Joining us were members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, along with special guest speakers Tsugumi Maki ’94 and Chris Lee ’10. We had some engaging conversations with these students as they were on the cusp of graduating, and we certainly intend to keep them engaged as alumni. 

Looking Ahead
We are looking forward to welcoming a very strong incoming class to our campus in August, and grateful to all of the staff, faculty, and students who helped bring in such a talented group of new students.

The Presidential Transition Team will also be busy as we all prepare for the July 1 arrival of Shirley Collado as the college’s ninth president, and for this fall’s celebration of the college’s 125th anniversary. The board will continue to focus in the coming academic year on securing the long-term financial health of the college, and on supporting the many efforts happening across campus to invest in our future success while remaining mindful of the need to keep Ithaca College affordable and accessible for our hardworking students.

While the pace of activity on campus certainly slows down a bit with the arrival of summer, we know that many of you will remain very busy working, teaching, studying, and getting ready for a very big year. We hope that everyone is able to take some time refresh and renew despite these pressures, and we extend our best wishes for a happy and healthy summer. And, on behalf of the entire board, we want to thank you again for your deep commitment to Ithaca College. We are all very excited for what lies ahead for IC, and we look forward to collaborating with you to shape our future together. 

Tom Grape ’80 
Chair, Ithaca College Board of Trustees 

David Lissy ’87 
Vice Chair, Ithaca College Board of Trustees

May 2017 Board of Trustees Meeting: A Message from the Board Chairs | 0 Comments |
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