The last couple of weeks have certainly been eventful for many of us as spring semester came to a close and we celebrated our graduates at commencement. I have been to 35 commencements at Westminster but this was one was very special since it was my first as president. Thank you to the many faculty and staff that work hard to make these graduation ceremonies so memorable for our graduates and their families. Moving the date up a month was no easy feat. I'm was impressed with everyone's efforts and that we were able to give our all our graduates the send off they deserved. Now we turn our attention to May Term, summer classes and planning for next fall.
Board of Trustees Meeting
The Board of Trustees also met last week. The trustees focused on their board goals, academic programs, enrollment planning, the comprehensive campaign and the long term business model for the institution. They approved the list of graduates, several new emeritus faculty (Carolyn Connell, Elizabeth Herrick, Joyce Sibbett, and Janet Dynak), the new Planning & Priorities Committee, and minor edits to the faculty manual. Three new trustees were invited to join the board in July: Rex Falkenrath, Ryan Hessenthaler, and Charlotte Tullos. And the Board said goodbye to long-time trustee Jim Clark, who we also honored on Saturday with an honorary degree.
Advancement News—New Endowed Scholarship
At the board meeting, VP of Advancement Staci Carson announced a very exciting new gift to the college from the Meldrum Foundation. Long-time supporters, Pete and Cathie Meldrum have committed to fund a $1 million endowment commitment to support first-generation students wanting to attend Westminster. The endowment will also help first-generation students in their junior and senior year needing financial help to complete their education. We are so grateful to the Meldrum family for continuing their generous support to Westminster.
Quick Enrollment Update
May is a critical month for securing our class for next year. We still have 1,100 admitted students who have not deposited or withdrawn yet for next fall, so our Admissions and Financial Aid Teams have been incredibly busy making calls and firming up commitments. We are still running behind last year's deposit numbers, which makes all of us anxious, but we are still optimistic we can close the gap. Look for John's enrollment report next week.
Civic Engagement Honor
There are so many stories to tell about our wonderful students. One I would like to highlight this week is Elhom Gosnick. Elhom was recently named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow by the Campus Compact. The award honors a student who had gone above and beyond in the area of civic engagement. Westminster prides itself on its commitment to community connection and making a difference. To have one of our students recognized nationally as a leader in this capacity is outstanding. Congratulations to Elhom.
One of the great joys of being president is meeting our students and hearing their stories. One of our graduates this year is Amram Musunga, who graduated last Saturday from the Masters of Accountancy Program. Amram also has his undergraduate degree in accounting from Westminster. Amram stopped by my office to personally thank me for his education. He told me his amazing story of coming to Utah from Kenya to attend BYU, but instead decided to attend Westminster. He told me the impact his professors had on him and that he now looks to secure a job with a national public accounting firm so he can return to his country and help develop better accounting systems that promote business development. Our students want to change the world and I'm thrilled we have students like Amram that have the desire to do it.
All the best,