Update on Board of Trustees meeting by President Greene

Two weeks ago the Board of Trustees and President David Greene convened on campus for the Autumn Board of Trustees meeting. They discussed initiatives to continue their agenda to cement Colby among the world’s best liberal arts colleges.
Noting the importance of keeping everyone on campus cohesive and informed as the College implements current projects, SGA is hosted a State of the College Address with President Greene on yesterday, Wednesday, November 2 at 8:00 PM. At this address, President Greene outlined the initiatives discussed in the Trustees meeting, followed by time for questions and comments.
In an October 26 school-wide message, President Greene gave an overview of the Autumn Board of Trustees meeting and explained key next steps in the initiatives produced.

President Greene explained that, spurred by presentations and input from numerous student and faculty groups, the Board discussed projects which emphasized five major imperatives: continued, enhanced support for academic programs; expansion of an opportunity-driven Colby experience; promotion of an engaging campus climate; increased partnership with Waterville through ongoing development and transformation projects; and fundraising campaigns to accelerate progress.

The Board plans to support academic programs through global, environmental, and innovation-based initiatives. President Greene stated that the College will invest in faculty-led programs designed to promote multidisciplinary consideration of emerging global issues, positioning Colby as a leader in these areas of importance.

President Greene applauded Professor of Anthropology Catherine Besteman for her presentation of the recommendations of the Global Colby Task Force and stated that further discussions will enumerate next steps to make Colby a fully global institution.

President Greene stated that environmental studies faculty members delivered an invigorating presentation to the Board regarding the College’s engagement with climate change and other environmental issues. He noted progress in environmental initiatives, including a new partnership that has transformed Maine’s Allen Island into a laboratory and the environmental humanities grant awarded last month to Colby by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Board noted the importance of academic innovation in the performing arts. President Greene described the trustees’ collaboration with architectural firm William Rawn Associates in the striking design of a new center intended to promote interdisciplinary exploration in music, theater and dance, and cinema studies.

In their programs to continue to create an engaging Colby experience, the Board emphasized meaningful student opportunities, creativity in the arts, as well as support for athletic programs and active student lifestyles.

The trustees heard firsthand presentations from four students about the positive impacts of the research, internship, and global engagement opportunities Colby has offered them. President Greene stated that student opportunities will be expanded and supported by the new Center for Discovery, Global Impact, and Postgraduate Achievement, which will open next Fall in the transformed Grossman building.

The Board further discussed steps by which to connect the Colby Museum of Art and the College’s robust Art departments with the growing Waterville artistic community, creating community engagement and explorative innovation that President Greene states will make Colby and central Maine a “destination for the arts.”

The Board also moved forward with designs for a new athletic facility that will support both Colby’s athletic programs as well as an active campus lifestyle. In addition, President Greene stated that the facility will enable Colby to host large-scale regional athletic contests, increasing Colby’s engagement with collegiate sports and supporting local businesses.

In their discussion of the campus climate, the board noted the importance of promoting intellectual engagement, exploration of issues from multiple perspectives, and freedom of inquiry and expression. Further, they emphasized diversity and inclusion in steps to continue equitable access to Colby resources.

President Greene explained that the Board committed one of its two major meetings to hear from speakers who have led initiatives for diversity and inclusion at both universities and in the corporate sector. Recognizing the ongoing importance of this work, President Greene stated that Dean Karlene Burrel-McRae ’94 will vet the report of the Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity to determine next steps. But the Board plans to immediately enact the task force’s recommendation of a recurring campus climate survey, disseminating the first survey in the Spring.

In the meeting the trustees also discussed the ongoing transformation of Waterville Maine Street. President Greene described Colby’s immediate Waterville engagement initiatives, including development of a boutique hotel, the rehabilitation of a historic building to create office space, and the building of a downtown student apartment complex.

President Greene stated that, through these initiatives, he and the Board intend to earn the support of all members of the Colby community and thus accelerate project success. To that end, the board leveraged the fundraising experience of trustees who have worked at institutions such as universities and hospitals to optimize its fundraising campaign. They included strategies to increase the Colby Fund of annual giving to 50% participation and $10 million in annual fundraising.
The Board also welcomed trustees into leadership positions. Eric Rosengren ’79, P’12 is now the Chair of the Board and Leslie Dougherty Biddle ’89 and Jeff Packman ’88 will serve as Vice Chairs. President Greene expressed his gratitude for the “extraordinary work” of the board and its continued determination to achieve the College’s goals.

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