Welcome Back

Dear Saint Mary's College Community,

I would like to extend a warm welcome back from January term break to the undergraduate faculty and students and an equally warm hello to our continuing graduate faculty and students.

Strategic Planning

We are nearing a key milestone in our Building on Strengths initiative, commissioned last year to identify key strategic opportunities and challenges facing Saint Mary's in the next three to five years. During January and February, the committee has met four times for over twenty aggregate hours of thoughtful dialogue; received input from staff, faculty, students and others during several structured workshops; and solicited and considered input from a comprehensive survey of College alumni. At next month's annual Board retreat, College trustees will receive and consider a draft report from our Building on Strengths steering committee and strategic planning consultant William Weary. This report will summarize the input from all campus constituencies and will outline numerous proposed action steps to enhance our effectiveness as a mission-driven, student-centered learning community.

I appreciate the considerable investment of time and energy from the committee and all who have shared insights with them, and I look forward to receiving and considering their recommendations.

Trustee Action

Our Board of Trustees took action on various important items of interest during their regularly scheduled January meeting. They approved a 2007-08 budget blueprint that:

1) Increases undergraduate tuition and fees by 7 percent.

2) Increases institutional financial aid 22 percent (an additional $3.6 million annually) to further support the College's outreach to deserving students from low and moderate-income families.

3) Allocates a four percent increase for aggregate faculty and staff salaries.

Pete Michell will provide a more detailed summary of the 2007-08 budget later this spring.

Trustees also approved the awarding of an honorary doctorate to our De La Salle Week Convocation speaker, Br. Gerard Rummery, FSC and approved a series of staff recommendations for future campus facility improvements. I look forward to reporting further on these and other strategic initiatives at next month's State of the College address (more below).

Year-end Encouraging Trends in Advancement

Our Advancement Office reports several encouraging trends. At year's end, the number of individual donors to the College had increased 33% over 2005 (from 2,550 to 3,391) and gifts received had increased by 46% over the same period (from $4.7 million to $6.87 million). Brother Stan Sobczyk will share additional details in a campus communication later this month.

Annual State of the College Presentation

I invite you to join me in LeFevre Theater on Wednesday, March 7 from 1 � 2 pm (during our weekly Community Time) for my second State of the College address. I look forward to sharing reflections on strategic planning; several trends in overall support to the College, especially among alumni, and other significant issues of interest to the Saint Mary's community.

My best wishes to you all as we embark on what promises to be a busy spring semester.

In St. La Salle,

Brother Ronald Gallagher