2019 End-of-the-Year Board of Trustees Update

The Board of Trustees for Saint Mary's College of California. Front Row (left to right) Brother Bernard LoCoco, FSC, Sharon Muir, Kevin “Casey” Eichler, Dr. James Donahue, Kevin Nagle, Elizabeth Phelan, Br. Donald Johanson, FSC. Second Row (left to right) Song Woo, Kimberley Vogel, Br. James Gaffney, FSC, Shirley Gee, Dr. Dennis Meiss, Peter Kelly, Mark Madgett, Eric Flowers, Kevin FlynnThird Row (left to right) Charles Moore, Br. Thomas Jones, FSC, Br. Michael O’Hern, FSC, Joseph Motta, Br. Charles Hilken, FSC, John Arnaudon, Margaret French Isaac, Dr. Rand MorimotoThe Saint Mary’s College of California Board of Trustees and the President’s Cabinet met on Friday, May 24, 2019, for its last gathering of the 2018-19 academic year. The meeting featured presentations from the College’s leadership, faculty, and students. Additionally, the group ratified new resolutions, including approving the College’s 2019-20 budget.

The Board photo (shown to the left) includes current and new members: Front Row (left to right) Brother Bernard LoCoco, FSC, Sharon Muir, Kevin “Casey” Eichler, President James Donahue, Kevin Nagle, Elizabeth Phelan, Brother Donald Johanson, FSC. Second Row (left to right) Song Woo, Kimberley Vogel, Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Shirley Gee, Dr. Dennis Meiss, Peter Kelly, Mark Madgett, Eric Flowers, Kevin Flynn. Third Row (left to right) Charles Moore, Brother Thomas Jones, FSC,  Brother Michael O’Hern, FSC, Joseph Motta, Brother Charles Hilken, FSC, John Arnaudon, Margaret French Isaac, Rand Morimoto.

Highlights of the meeting included the following:

The President’s Report
President James Donahue reflected on Saint Mary’s continued progress over the past academic year, and noted some of the challenges the College may face going forward. Among his highlighted observations was the College’s annual Academic Convocation, which honored Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC, and recognized #300LaSalle. He pointed out the strong leadership of the President’s Cabinet and recent academic administrative searches, resulting in the hiring of a new KSOE dean, vice provost for enrollment & communications, vice provost for academic programs & planning, dean of the library, and the inaugural associate provost for faculty affairs and senior diversity officer. He reported on the successful fundraising efforts of the College’s comprehensive campaign, which is nearing its $125 million goal, and the College’s Athletics achievements this year.

Donahue also recognized the challenges facing the College in the future, such as a national trend where liberal arts intuitions are experiencing first-year student decreases in enrollment. With this landscape in mind, he also noted the progress of the BAR Task Force and its recommended strategies to allow the College not only to remain academically competitive and financially strong but also to thrive.

The President also noted the ongoing collaboration between the administration and faculty on task forces examining important concerns such as faculty salaries and shared governance. Donahue also described the fiscal state of the institution as healthy, indicating that as a result of net revenue growth, expense savings, and reasonable operating costs, SMC continues to have a positive bottom line.

Report & Recommendations by the BAR Task Force
President Donahue and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Margaret Kasimatis reported on the findings and recommendations of the BAR Task Force. They recapped the background leading to the Task Force’s formation and its charge to examine the factors that are critical to SMC’s long-term financial sustainability. Donahue and Kasimatis discussed the recommendations of the Task Force, which focused on four key categories: Undergraduate Enrollment, Graduate Professional Studies Enrollment, Other/New Revenue Sources, and Expenses. They also presented information on the projected financial impact of the Task Force’s strategies for addressing the key areas. The Task Force is scheduled to provide a full report on its recommendations over the next month.

The Planning Process for the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan
President Donahue and Provost Kasimatis also led a presentation on the development of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. They noted that planning efforts were underway, including establishing a steering committee, a timeline, and an inclusive, transparent and collaborative process for developing the new strategic plan. They also explained that the new strategic plan should present a bold vision for the future, be rooted in the College’s Lasallian Catholic mission and liberal arts traditions, and contain a roadmap for achieving the goals set out in the plan.

A Review of the FY 2019-20 Budget
Vice President for Finance and Administration Susan Collins provided a presentation on the state of Saint Mary’s fiscal health, and she provided insights about the College’s proposed $135 million operating and $10 million capital budgets for FY 2019-20.

An Update on Defining the Future: The Campaign for Saint Mary’s
Vice President for Advancement Lisa Moore and Assistant Vice President for Development and Campaign Director Daniel Lewis provided an update on the significant progress made with Defining the Future: The Campaign for Saint Mary's. The Campaign has now exceeded $121 million, drawing close to its $125 million goal. The historic funding initiative has raised more than $14 million this year, which marks the second most successful fundraising period of the Campaign. The increase indicates a growing culture of philanthropy at Saint Mary's, as the upsurge is 37% ahead of the College’s 5-year fundraising average. Moore and Lewis noted the many achievements of the Campaign to date, including raising tens of millions for student scholarships, funding college operations, investing in academic excellence, and strengthening the Lasallian Catholic mission. They also noted that the Campaign’s success, which continues to reflect growth and momentum, is the result of the contributions of more than 26 thousand unique donors, and expressed their deep gratitude for that donor support.

Faculty and Student Sessions
As part of the Board’s continued efforts to foster greater collaboration with faculty, the group heard a presentation from Academic Senate Chair and Justice, Community and Leadership Program Director Associate Professor Monica Fitzgerald. She was joined by Senate Vice Chair and Professor of Anthropology and Chair of Global Regional Studies Jennifer Heung. The professors updated the Board about the work of the Senate over the past academic year, campus issues, and other matters, including the progress of task forces on faculty salaries and shared governance. 

Additionally, as on previous occasions, the Board heard from a student panel. Participants included Maya Szafraniec ’19, a biology major, Mason LaBadie ’19, a business administration major, Marielle Gardner ’19, an Integral student, and Matt Delmartini MA ’19, Kinesiology. Vice Provost Jane Camarillo moderated the discussion, which featured reflections from the panel members on their experiences at SMC, their plans for life after College and observations on how to improve Saint Mary’s.

Board Resolutions Recap

  • Budget: 
    Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees approved the College’s $135 million operating and $10 million capital budgets for 2019/20. The budgets were developed with input from the College’s Budget Committee, which is comprised of 13 members representing staff, faculty, academic deans and the President’s Cabinet.
  • Board of Trustee Membership: 
    The Board approved the re-election of Board Chair Kevin Nagle for Academic Years 2019 to 2021, and the election of Board Secretary Elizabeth Phelan, also for Academic Years 2019 to 2021. Additionally, the Board welcomed three new members: Dr. Karl Beutner ’71, dermatologist and research clinician at Solano Dermatology Associates; Shirley Gee ’80, MBA ’09, founder and managing partner of Angel Plus, LLC; and Song Woo MBA ’05,  founder of the Lighthouse Manage

Board Charge
Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees is the College's governing body whose fiduciary duties and responsibilities are determined by the College's bylaws and other governing documents. The board's responsibilities include advocating for the College locally, nationally, and internationally; exercising appropriate oversight of the academic quality and fiscal health of the College; approving the annual budget; evaluating and advising the president of the College; and providing financial support, as well as leadership in fundraising, to sustain the College's mission and progress.