I joined the Board of Trustees in 2005, and it has been a privilege to work with my colleagues, the professional staff, and our faculty to lead the University for the past 12 years. I couldn't be any more honored to now serve as the Chair of the Board. The role of Drake's Board of Trustees is focused on policy making and sound resource management. In other words, we oversee and ensure the appropriate use of all of Drake's resources, financial and otherwise. To a person, we deeply believe in the value of a Drake education and the ability of this University—and the exceptional students that depart as Drake graduates—to leave a lasting mark on our world.Happy 2017! It is my privilege today to talk about something that I know we share a common love for: Drake University. My path to becoming Chair of the Board of Trustees started back in 1975 when I arrived at Drake to pursue my bachelor's degree in speech communications. I remember clearly Dr. Ericson's first class of the semester and how his personal challenges to me established the basis for my academic success at Drake. Since graduating in the class of '79, I've established a number of businesses and currently manage the Golder Family Foundation, through which my and wife and I support many causes—most importantly, Drake University. One of our favorite projects at Drake is the Engaged Citizen Conference, which exposes Drake students to important issues facing the country and how they can be directly involved in affecting change in our democracy. This year's conference is focused on "Demographic Opportunities and Challenges: Domestic and International."
I recently hosted my fellow Trustees for our annual retreat in Chicago, and we covered a lot of ground during our meetings. A few highlights include:
As you may know, Drake is looking to fill several leadership positions. President Martin provided an update to the board on the searches underway for the Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration, Dean of Students, and Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion (APCEI). Search committees are currently reviewing applications for the dean positions, and we hope to have a new CBPA Dean announced by the end of April and the Dean of Students announced in March. The APCEI search should come to a conclusion this month.
We also received an update on Drake's student recruitment efforts. President Martin shared that the University is progressing well ahead of last year in terms of applications received. Based on expected admit and yield rates (the number of students that progress with enrollment), the University is well on its way to reaching (and possibly exceeding) the goal of enrolling 850 new first-year students. However, we cannot be complacent—if you know a high school student starting or finishing their college search, make sure Drake is on their list!
The board also approved the proposed summary budget for Fiscal Year 2018, and we will approve the final FY 2018 budget at the April board meeting. We continue to show great responsibility in our financial management and are focused on establishing a balanced budget each year.
Finally, the plenary session of the retreat was dedicated to exploring the national landscape of intercollegiate athletics and its challenging financial model. Director of Athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb and President Martin led the session, and we were fortunate to be joined by Oliver Luck, executive vice president of regulatory affairs for the NCAA, who provided valuable perspective and insight.
As you can see, there is never a dull moment in helping to lead a dynamic institution such as Drake. But it is not my—or the Board of Trustees' or President Martin's—leadership alone that makes our University successful. It is the support we receive from our community that enables us to succeed. Your investment in Drake and confidence in our ability to deliver an exceptional living and learning environment makes all we do possible: so, I extend my sincere thanks for all that you do for Drake.
Since most of you don't hear from me often, I'll take this occasion to encourage you to do even more. There are countless opportunities for you to be engaged in the life of your University, in addition to your loyal financial support. Hire Drake alumni. Tell a high school student looking at colleges why Drake should be their top choice. Come back to campus for reunions. Speak to a class. Together, we can keep Drake moving forward and transform the lives of thousands of students every year.
Wishing you the best in 2017, and hope to see you all at Relays in April!
Best personal regards,
P.S. Check out Drake’s incredible new website at www.drake.edu. What an exciting first impression we are providing prospective students and others looking to learn more about Drake!