News and Updates from the May Ithaca College Board of Trustees Meetings

By IC Staff, May 25, 2023
A message from Board of Trustees Chair David H. Lissy ’87 and President La Jerne Terry Cornish.

The Ithaca College Board of Trustees convened for its spring meetings on campus Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20. In addition to holding regular business sessions, trustees took the opportunity to recognize and connect with members of the campus community at events throughout the Commencement Weekend.

Approval of FY24 Budget

The board fully approved the recommended $204.3 million operating expense budget for fiscal year 2023-24. This budget reflects an estimated 4,099 full-time undergraduate students enrolled at Ithaca College for the coming academic year. It dedicates $116.9 million to unfunded institutional financial aid, a figure that does not include restricted financial aid, government funds, or donations and solely reflects the College’s direct investment in students.

The board also approved an $18.85 million capital budget, which includes $6.4 million earmarked for deferred maintenance projects, $2.15 million for IT upgrades, and $4.65 million for campus improvements, including work to refresh some of the Terraces residence halls. We would like to thank the members of the President’s Cabinet, the Institutional Effectiveness and Budget Committee, and all IC staff and faculty for your diligence and creativity in helping to craft a budget that reflects careful stewardship of College resources and purposeful investment in key strategic areas.

We are pleased that the approved FY24 budget provides for an overall 4% increase in total employee compensation and benefits. This includes a July 1 budgeted base salary increase of 3.5%. How that increment will be distributed across the campus will be communicated in a separate upcoming message. The College will also be increasing the TIAA employer contribution match from 7% to 7.5%, while maintaining the 3% required employee contribution to receive the employer contribution that was lowered from 5% in FY 2023.

Although the College is still striving to bring the employer contribution match back up to 9% in the coming years, the prioritization of the increase to the increment pool was an intentional effort to help assist our employees in a peak inflationary environment. The Board is sincerely grateful to our faculty and staff for your loyalty and dedication to the College and to our students and recognizes the importance of providing a competitive compensation package.

Plenary Sessions

The Board held several plenary sessions intended to provide trustees with insights into current issues of importance at Ithaca College and in higher education.

Chief Information Officer David Weil ’87, MS ’89 led a presentation on Analytics at IC and Strategy around Data with representatives from the Offices of Information Technology, Analytics and Institutional Research, and Business and Finance along with the Center for Student Success and Retention. The session helped trustees gain a better understanding of the data, research, and information that is currently available to inform strategic campus decisions and directions. Specific topics included data governance and security, how the College can continue to move toward a data-informed culture, and future projects intended to leverage key data and institutional metrics.

A session led by Dave Curry, Director of the Center for Career Exploration and Development, focused on the recent re-branding of the office and improvements to its services for students and alumni. The Center has changed the College’s model of student outreach to be one that better meets the needs of our current students, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, and in an ever-changing workforce landscape. Curry told trustees that the Center is looking forward to continuing to find ways to innovate its programming and build on faculty collaborations to better illustrate the importance of the career journey and the increasing value and focus on return-on-investment being placed on career outcomes as a part of higher education nationally and at Ithaca College.

The conversation on the topic continued over lunch, as trustees were joined by faculty and staff who have excelled at facilitating student career exploration.

Tim Downs, Vice President for Finance and Administration, was joined by representatives from the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management and Office of Risk Management for a presentation on Risk Management and Fiduciary Responsibility. They provided trustees with insights as to how risk is managed at the College, an update on what the roles and responsibilities are of the Board and the administration regarding risk management, and a review of some of the specific risks impacting Ithaca College.​

Laurie Koehler, Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Strategy, shared an update on preliminary new student enrollment metrics for Fall 2023, ongoing student retention efforts, and opportunities for the next enrollment cycle.

Approval of Faculty Promotions and Tenure

The Board was proud to honor the excellence and service of Ithaca College faculty by approving promotions of six faculty members to professor and three to associate professor, along with awarding tenure to an associate professor. We applaud these faculty and thank them for their continuing commitment to enriching the education of our students.

Welcoming New Trustees

The Board was pleased to elect five new members, each of whom brings valuable perspectives and experience, to four-year terms:

  • Nancy Daniels ’94, P’25, who formerly oversaw content for the Turner networks and served as Chief Brand Officer, Discovery & Factual, with the Discovery Channel.
  • Michael DeVito ’86, Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).
  • Rev. Dr. Carlos Perkins ’99, Assistant Research Scientist and Associate Director of Engagement in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.
  • Paula Rooney P’17, who retired in 2022 after serving for 27 years as President of Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts.
  • Monica Bertino Wooden ’81, co-founder and retired Chief Executive Officer of MercuryGate International, a pioneer in the field of supply chain logistics.

Re-elected to additional three-year terms were David Fleisher ’91, P’20 and Peter Taffae ’82. Stepping down upon the conclusion of their terms were Kathy Newlands ’89, Jan Singer ’86, and Kim Zeoli ’89. We thank all of our trustees for their commitment and dedication to serving the College.

Celebrating Service and Philanthropy

Trustees took the opportunity while on campus to recognize members of the Ithaca College community for the many ways they contribute to the betterment of the College.

On Wednesday, we celebrated the contributions of the Newlands family with the naming of a classroom in Hill Center for the late William A. Newlands ’50, a physical education graduate and student-athlete who went on to have a celebrated career as a high school teacher and coach. A generous bequest from the estate of William and his wife Evelyn has established an endowment in athletics that will benefit IC student-athletes for generations to come. On hand for the dedication ceremony was their son Bill, whose wife Kathy is a 1989 graduate and outgoing member of the Board of Trustees.

On Friday afternoon, we dedicated the Alumni Circle Promenade, the beautiful new entryway to campus. Thanks to the vision and generosity of the Taffae Family Foundation and trustee Peter Taffae ’82, this space makes for a stunning first impression of the College. As evidenced by the constant stream of graduating students posing there during Commencement Weekend, it appears this picturesque site has quickly become a prime campus spot to take a magnificent selfie.

Trustees also expressed their gratitude to Linda Petrosino ’77, M.S. ’78 as she prepares to retire after serving for the past 11 years as Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. During her time at IC, she has demonstrated a dedication to the highest standards of leadership. In a formal proclamation, the Board thanked Linda for her “service, commitment, and devotion to her alma mater.”

Trustees were excited to take part in such a celebratory weekend on South Hill, which included the Campus Life Awards, Students of Color Awards, Commencement Eve Concert, Graduate Hooding and Commencement Ceremony, and Sunday’s Commencement ceremony. We offer our congratulations to the Class of 2023—now our newest alumni—along with our hopes that staff and faculty will find opportunities for rest and rejuvenation over the summer months.

We thank you all once again for your dedication to the College and to one another.


David H. Lissy ’87
Chair, Board of Trustees

La Jerne Terry Cornish