June Update

Dear faculty and staff,

June greetings to you all. We have already embarked on a busy June schedule of workshops, classes, activities and events. Both of the graduations on May 23 and 24 were enjoyed by all of the participants, and I wish to thank all of those whose efficient and excellent work made the ceremonies and allied events smooth and memorable.

The pace of activities has slowed only a little since then. Last week the College held an important conference, "The Third Annual Institute on Research and Learning for Social Justice," hosted by CILSA, and next week the Kinesiology Department will host the "Graduate Kinesiology Colloquium: Improving Human Sport Performance." We also conducted an Emergency Management Plan Exercise, in keeping with our emergency preparedness work during this past year. And we began a month-long undergraduate summer session this week, with more than 100 students registered.

Concurrent with the graduations, the Board of Trustees held its final meeting of the academic year. Among the items already announced from the meeting was my re-appointment for another term as president. I look forward to continuing to work with all constituencies of the College in achieving our mission in these challenging times. I am buoyed by the evident commitment to the College on the part of faculty, staff, students and board members.

I would also like to note several issues of interest to the Board and the College as a whole. 

1.) Our efforts to maintain financial stability in these uncertain and challenging economic times need careful monitoring and attention. We will continue to closely monitor our enrollment and retention. As you have probably heard, the governor has stated his intention to cancel the Cal Grant program for incoming students; we currently have more than 180 of our incoming students who are eligible for Cal Grants. Given that the typical Cal Grant provides $9,705 per year, the consequences for students and institutions of canceling this program is significant. I have written to the governor and legislators to express our opposition to the cancelation of the Cal Grant. We will follow the development of the state budget and the possible effects on our own budget. The College Budget Committee will meet on June 30 to review our current plans and look at what contingencies might be necessary for the coming year.

2.) The Board of Trustees has asked me to move swiftly on establishing an institution-wide Public Speaker Policy, and I am committed to doing so and making sure that we have appropriate and close consultation with all groups affected by this policy. This process will extend into the fall. I have asked Provost Dobkin to work closely with a committee of faculty and staff on this issue and report to me regularly, so that I can keep the Board of Trustees informed on our progress.

3.) Our WASC report for the upcoming fall 2009 visit will be posted on the website here for those who have not yet participated in review sessions.

As for my schedule, I will be quite busy during June. This week I have a meeting with West Coast Conference presidents. I will attend an Association of Governing Boards Institute for Presidents and Board Chairs from June 9-11. I am looking forward to this meeting along with Peter Kelly, '67, our new Board chair. We will be able to set an agenda for the coming year and discuss our important challenges, opportunities and collaboration. From June 15 through 30, I will be at several important international meetings. In Rome, I will attend the International Lasallian University Leadership Program to give a presentation and meet with the five conference participants from Saint Mary's. That will be followed by Encuentro IX, a meeting of all of the International Lasallian University Presidents, in Philadelphia.

I wish all of you the best in our continuing efforts to achieve our mission at Saint Mary's College.

In St. La Salle,
Br. Ronald Gallagher, FSC