May 9, 2022
Last weekend was the culmination of a remarkable year. We endured multiple disruptions from global to local levels, acquainted and reacquainted ourselves and began to restore our sense of community, and ended the term with an inspiring Student Showcase and fully in-person, on-campus commencements. Thank you to everyone who helped make these, and all the other end-of-year events, happen so successfully.
The Board of Trustees also met last week. As part of their deliberations, they considered our proposal to increase compensation for faculty and staff. The increases, while modest, are a start at providing increases. Effective July 1, 2022, all employees will receive a 2% increase in salaries. Faculty salaries below 95% of the median for their peer disciplines and institutions will receive an additional adjustment; all staff positions will be evaluated in the coming year for similar assessment of salaries in comparison to current market conditions. I believe our trustees recognize the need for sustained attention to compensation and are committed to continued efforts at increasing salaries and benefits, aligned with our growing fiscal strength, in the coming years.
The Board meeting included updates about the initiatives, goals, and timelines of Westminster at 150, and the results of our intensive efforts to recruit and retain students. New first-year student deposits continue to run well ahead of last year, and graduate enrollment overall is meeting budget targets. Although some staff and faculty have left due to life and family changes, career advancement and retirements, we have also hired talented new people in key areas who are essential to our programs and services.
Finally, trustees welcomed four new members to the Board who officially start their first term on July 1st:
Kim Cordova: Kim is a Westminster alumna (’95, Bachelor of Science) and received her Law Juris Doctor from the University of Utah College of Law in 2001. She now runs and manages her own legal practice and consulting firm. Kim has served as Executive Director for the Governor’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, as an Adjunct Professor in Criminal Process, and as a Trial Attorney for Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office with an emphasis on child sex crimes. She has also performed pro bono work in family law cases across Utah.
Ray Etcheverry: Ray is the President/Director of the Florence J. Gillmor Foundation and past chair of the board of directors at Parsons Behle & Latimer. His son, Jeff Etcheverry, received his Bachelor of Science from Westminster in 2011. Ray has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, and Super Lawyers, and he has a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeal for the 3rd, 5th, 10th, and Federal Circuits as well as the District of Utah and the State Court of Utah, and is an active member of the Litigation, Antitrust and Intellectual Property Sections of the American Bar Association.
Keri Hale: Keri is also a Westminster alumna (’16, Bachelor of Arts) and recently completed the MBA at Western Governors University. She currently serves as Director of Charitable Giving (COO) at The Dell Loy Hansen Family Foundation and Chair of the Hale Center Theater, and she is a board member of the Sundance Advisory Council and Dean’s Advancement Council for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University. She has also been a Creative Director at Mtn Air, LLC and a freelance photographer.
L Jackson (Jack) Newell: Jack’s extensive higher education career includes teaching at Clemson University, Deep Springs College, and the University of Utah, as well as serving as President of Deep Springs College, head of the University of Utah’s student affairs division, and Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of New Hampshire. His awards include CASE Professor of the Year; Presidential Teaching Scholar; the Hatch Prize for Excellence in Teaching; the Joseph Katz Award; the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of the Study of Higher Education; the Deep Springs Medal for exemplary service to humanity; and the Distinguished Honors Professor Award at the University of Utah. Jack is now a Professor Emeritus of Higher Education at the University of Utah.
This accomplished group of new trustees reflects diversity in experience, age, gender, ethnicity, and connection to the college, and they will contribute greatly to the work of the board and the college as a whole.
I anticipate seeing more of our trustees on campus in the coming year as they engage even more fully in the life of the college and draw inspiration from our community. In the meantime, no matter how busy your summer schedule might be, I hope you find a bit of time in the coming weeks for rest and rejuvenation, and I look forward to what the fall will bring.