May 27, 2016

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

The Connecticut College Board of Trustees convened for its spring meeting last weekend. I am writing with a summary of the major topics discussed and actions taken.


The ongoing work on our new Connections curriculum was covered in several committees over the course of the weekend. Members of the committee on Academic Affairs heard about the new pathways, ConnCourses, and First-Year Seminars planned for next year; about the recent grants the College has received to support the faculty’s efforts; and about the innovative approaches to teaching advanced by this year’s Technology Fellows. The Marketing and Communications committee reviewed the work that has been completed so far by Lipman Hearne of Chicago in helping the College articulate the importance of Connections — and the distinctive values of the College — to prospective students. And finally, the full Board had a chance to learn first-hand from five of our most recent Fulbright scholars about the unique pathways they took to engage with local and global communities.


The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is of paramount importance, and the Board heard about the work the College has been doing in recent months to improve pedestrian safety on our campus. Victor Arcelus and Jim Norton, co-chairs of the working group on pedestrian safety, and Rich Madonna, vice president for finance and administration, discussed recommendations from our traffic consultant, the results of a comprehensive roadway safety audit, and the work the College will do in the summer to make travel on our campus safer and more sustainable.

Capital projects

The Facilities and Infrastructure committee took up the question of the College’s Master Plan and how it might be developed as the College moves forward with its strategic plan. Trustees were also advised about capital improvements planned for summer 2016. These include renewal of Oliva Hall; the creation of two first-year floors in Morrisson; interior and exterior renovations to Unity House; and the completion of a section of campus roadway between the Power House and Becker House.


The Board approved a cash operating budget for FY17 of $147.2 million, an increase of $6.6 million over last year. The budget includes a provision for $37 million in financial aid, as well as a growth in salary, benefits, and other operating expenses of $3.3 million. A 3.25 percent increase in tuition and fees was also approved, bringing the comprehensive fee to $65,000 for the 2016-17 academic year.


The trustees acknowledged several significant gifts, grants, and bequests: from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, $800,000 to support the Connections curriculum; from Lucy Holcombe ’46, a $1.3 million bequest; from Virginia Deuel ’37, a $325,000 bequest; and from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a $155,000 collaboration grant as part of the College’s Creating Connections Consortium (C3). The Advancement committee also discussed progress of the Connecticut College Fund, which currently sits at $5.25 million, or 92% of our $5.7 million goal.

Appointments, promotions, and departures

Eight promotions to full professor and four promotions to associate professor with tenure were approved by the Board, all effective July 1, 2016. Promoted to full professor were Anne Bernhard (Biology), Amy Dooling (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Sandy Grande (Education), Aida Heredia (Hispanic Studies), Ozgur Izmirli (Computer Science), David Jaffe (Theater), Paola Sica (Italian), and John Tian (Government and International Relations). Promoted to associate professor with tenure were Christine Chung (Computer Science), Jennifer Rudolph (Hispanic Studies), Rachel Spicer (Botany), and Jeff Strabone (English). The Board also noted the impending retirements of three distinguished members of the faculty: Marylynn Fallon (Biology), Janet Gezari (English), and William Rose (Government and International Relations).

The Board recognized several new and retiring members of its own. Three trustees were approved to join the Board on July 1: Seth Alvord ’93, Jamie Costello ’89, and Chakena Sims ’16. Six current trustees were reappointed for a second, four-year term: Bradford Brown P’12’15’20, Sarah Fenton ’63, DeFred Folts III ’82 P’19, Mark Iger ’75, Karen Quint ’87, and Annie Scott ’84. Debo Adegbile ’91 and DeFred Folts were appointed Vice Chairs of the board for three-year terms. And five trustees — Eduardo Castell ’87, Kevon Copeland ’76, Prescott Hafner ’80, Maura Hallisey ’13, and Kenneth Kabel ’76 P’12 — were honored for their distinctive contributions and service.

Other business

Winners of this year’s faculty awards and the Presidential Staff Recognition Awards joined trustees for lunch on Friday, along with the seniors who have received Fulbright fellowships and those who were nominated for the Anna Lord Strauss Medal and the Oakes and Louise Ames Prize. The weekend ended on Tempel Green with a splendid celebration of the College’s 98th Commencement.

Katherine Bergeron