May 15, 2019
We brought the academic year to a close this year with 763 graduating students from 35 states and 28 countries. Our students continue to impress me with their achievements; they now represent Fulbright Scholars, Gilman Scholars, and Truman Scholars. Their outstanding performances shine on stage, in concert, and on athletic fields. Their service in our communities and collaborative research and projects have impact that improves our world.
We are now closer to completing a signature project that will benefit both our current students and attract even more to Westminster. This month we received a $2M challenge grant from the Florence J. Gillmor Foundation for the expansion of our performing arts complex. In the last week alone, we received nearly $500,000 toward this challenge and are well on our way to raising the funding that will enable us to break ground on the building this year—with not only the building itself entirely funded by external donors, but also with an endowment for ongoing support of the building.
May also brought national student deposit day. Consistent with prior years, and based on current information about deposited students, we should expect close to 400 new first-time undergraduates and 150 transfer students this fall. A lower discount rate, consistent with our goals moving forward, may enable us to meet our revenue targets. We are also seeing positive outcomes from our updated housing residency requirement, leading to a fuller residential headcount. In addition to summer efforts to enroll new students, staff and faculty are also working hard to register continuing students, which also affects both their success and our budget targets.
Board activities included a meeting of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, which made recommendations regarding board development and recruiting, as well as other standing meetings of the board. Beginning in the fall, board committees will include an Academic and Student Experience Committee charged with oversight of institutional enrollment and financial aid, academic program development, accreditation, and the general welfare of students. The general session included reports from the leadership of alumni, students, staff, and faculty groups, and in reviewing its calendar for the coming year, board members expressed a desire for continued exploration of additional ways to engage with students and faculty.
Finally, trustees voiced appreciation for the significant work of faculty and staff this past year, support for strategic planning efforts to be launched later in the summer, and excitement about the momentum building around productive institutional change. I, too, remain deeply proud and appreciative of all we have accomplished this past year. May you take time to rejuvenate this summer, and I look forward to our continued work together.