Dear Campus Community,
Last week, members of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees gathered on campus for their spring board meetings and to join our IC family for a celebration of this institution’s 124th Commencement. Our meetings were the first for two new members of the college’s leadership: Jan Singer ’86, who was elected as a trustee in April, and Hayley Harris, IC’s new Vice President for Human and Organizational Development and Planning.
The tone of our time together was both celebratory and deeply focused, as we supported the graduating Class of 2019 and undertook important business around the work to finalize our year-long strategic planning effort and around the recent news regarding the projections for the college’s 2019-20 first-year enrollment, which impacted our FY20 budget.
We are pleased to share with you now this update regarding our board’s time on campus.
Approval of the FY20 Budget
During its meetings, the board approved the FY20 operating budget that was put forward by the college’s senior leadership team. The $360.4 million budget represents a decrease of $8.6 million from the forecasted amount for fiscal year 2018–19, and reflects a decrease of about 320 full-time students as compared to 2018-19. This decrease in full-time students comes as a result of a large graduating class as well as a smaller-than-anticipated first-year class. The FY20 budget contains various expense reductions that were recommended by the senior leadership team which help offset the lower-than-anticipated revenue.
The budget includes the 2019-20 salary pool increase for faculty and staff: up to 1.50 percent allocated for full general merit and up to .50 percent allocated for additional merit. For this year, the salaries of the president, every member of the senior leadership team, and each school’s dean will not be eligible for an increase from this pool. The senior leadership team collaboratively recommended to the board that these salaries be excluded from the pool because they felt very strongly about the importance of continuing to invest as much as possible in faculty and staff as well as in our strategic plan, even in the context of a challenging year.
The 2019–20 budget dedicates $128.9 million to unfunded institutional financial aid. Unfunded aid represents the college’s direct investment in students, and doesn’t include restricted financial aid, government funds, or donations.
The board also voted to move $1 million of the 2018-19 operating margin to the college’s endowment; ongoing efforts to increase the endowment are critical to the long-term health of the institution.
Given the change in our enrollment, trustees were impressed by and grateful for the strong efforts of the college’s senior leadership team, the Institutional Effectiveness and Budget Committee, and the members of the IC community in collaborating to produce an FY20 budget that generated significant ways to both implement lean operations for the coming year and identify new or underutilized revenue streams.
We invite you to view the full budget book, which will be posted online within the next month.
Our Strategic Planning Process: Imagining Ithaca
The board had an incredibly productive and inspiring deep-dive session with the strategic plan steering committee and the co-chairs of the three theme-based working groups. It was a moment for all of us to get together and not only dig in to the draft plan’s goals and objectives, but also generate tremendous excitement and energy around the promise of the strategic plan and the future of the college.
Board members enthusiastically and unanimously passed a resolution of appreciation that offered deep gratitude to members of the steering committee and working groups for their efforts in creating a bold strategic plan, and to the members of the IC community—faculty, staff, students, and community partners—whose outstanding collaboration is helping take Imagining Ithaca from concept to reality.
In keeping with the established timeline of our strategic planning process and the spirit of our collaborative work throughout the year, the board did not vote on the plan at this meeting. The formal vote on the full plan will come in June, during a board retreat. This allows time for the draft plan to be further refined and revised. In addition to this formal vote, trustees will spend time in June engaging with aspirational and literal ideas about ways to bring this plan to life.
Engaging with Our Community
Given that it was Commencement weekend, trustees had many opportunities to spend time celebrating with our graduating students and their families. Board members visited many activities on campus, including the graduate hooding ceremony, the Campus Life Awards, and the Seniors of Color Awards.
On Friday, trustees attended the Senior Class Donor Luncheon, honoring the work of the Senior Class Gift Committee and the Class of 2019 students who contributed to the senior class gift. Trustees were thrilled to celebrate this major accomplishment and honor the hard work that the gift committee put in throughout this academic year.
On Saturday, the board spent the lunch hour with members of the executive committees of the faculty, staff, and student governance councils. The session opened with board leadership sharing some of the trustees’ thinking around critical issues, and the rest of our time together was spent in conversation as we learned more about one another’s work and leadership at Ithaca College. The board is firmly committed to shared governance and enjoyed learning about the perspectives of each governing body.
You can read about the election of Kathy Newlands ’89 as our newest board member, along with other trustee news, here.
And we were pleased to recognize 10 members of our esteemed faculty with promotions. You can see the complete list here.
Celebrating the Life of the College
Finally, trustees had many moments throughout the weekend to celebrate the life of Ithaca College. The board took part in a special service remembering the legacy of Skip Muller, who passed away in February.
Following this Friday service, the board attended a dinner in Emerson Suites to celebrate the retirement of Nancy Pringle, executive vice president and senior advisor to the president, and formerly vice president, general counsel and secretary to the board. As many of you know, Nancy is retiring on June 28 after 25 years at Ithaca College, and her tremendous career was celebrated at this event. Special guests for the evening included President Emerita Peggy R. Williams and her husband, David; Board Chair Emeritus Bill Schwab; and Nancy’s partner of 30 years, Noreen, along with their children and grandson. The board also unanimously voted to name Nancy an honorary trustee—a lifetime designation.
And of course, there is no bigger celebration of the life of our institution than Commencement. Trustees were once again honored to participate in this major moment, which celebrated the graduation of the 1,510 members of the Class of 2019.
The board meets next in June for its retreat, and we will send you a short message after that retreat sharing the outcome of the board’s vote on the strategic plan. Until then, have a great summer and please know how much your work and your participation in our Ithaca College community means to the two of us and to every trustee on our board.
David Lissy ’87
Chair, Ithaca College Board of Trustees
Shirley M. Collado
President, Ithaca College