February 2018 Board Report

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The board of trustees recently concluded our winter meetings on campus and I would like to take this opportunity to report to you the business that took place.

Our meetings began with a closed session with President Crawford where he provided an overview of campus and business activities. This session is always important for the board as it sets the stage for the balance of the meetings. Committee meetings followed and it is at these that the detailed business of the board takes place. From my perspective the most significant topics included the divestment of fossil fuel-related investments at the Investment Subcommittee meeting, and a progress report and next steps for the Welcome Center at the Facilities Subcommittee meeting. Each of these has generated significant interest from our campus community. In addition to these meetings of the board we split up to attend six different sessions of “Innovations In and Out of the Classroom.” We had lunch with several students, got a special preview of the upcoming production of “Into the Woods” and had the chance to get to know a number of students at an ASUPS-sponsored Senior Wine Tasting at Oppenheimer Café the evening before our meetings began.

Let me give you more detail on our discussions and, importantly, on other actions taken by the board at Friday’s business meeting, which was attended by a good number of students.

  • Budget. The FY19 budget was approved as put forward by the Budget Task Force and endorsed by President Crawford.
  • Welcome Center. The board approved moving ahead on the development of detailed construction documents for the new Welcome Center. First discussed in 2012, the center will be the important first impression we give to potential students and their families. It will serve a number of additional needs, but its primary purpose is to “welcome“ future Loggers. It is donor funded, thus not depleting resources for other important and ongoing needs.
  • Investment Subcommittee. In addition to a detailed review of the university’s endowment, which is enjoying strong performance, we discussed the board’s 2016 statement on divestment concerning fossil fuel-related investments and its commitment to reduce exposure to hydrocarbon over time in a manner that does not harm returns. To that end, the board previously authorized the allocation of $1 million for a new fossil-free endowment option for donors and affirmed a $2.5 million commitment to a new sustainable asset fund within the endowment. Our approach to the endowment, as well as other strategic decisions related to the board’s fiduciary responsibility, requires careful and consistent attention in order to navigate conflicts that arise as we seek to best represent our values as a campus community.
  • Senior Leadership. As announced by President Crawford immediately following the meeting, the transition to Provost (formerly Academic Vice President and Dean of the University) and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (formerly Vice President for Finance and Administration) were approved, as well as the establishment of in-house legal counsel. 
  • Tenure and Promotion. In closed session, we were pleased to support promotion and/or tenure of the following outstanding faculty members: 
    • Tenure: Peter Hodum (biology/environmental policy and decision-making), David Latimer (physics), Siddharth Ramakrishnan (biology/neuroscience) and Brett Rogers (Classics)
    • Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor: Jung Kim (exercise science)
    • Promotion to Clinical Associate Professor: Jennifer Pitonyak (occupational therapy)
    • Promotion to Associate Professor: Bryan Thines (biology) and Andreas Udbye (business and leadership)

And finally, we had the pleasure to recognize the service and efforts of ASUPS President Amanda Diaz ’18 and Vice President Jenna Mobley ’18. Their involvement, effort, curiosity and genuine desire to make this university truly special is what every member of the board seeks to ensure. Although saying goodbye to Amanda and Jenna, we also were introduced to incoming ASUPS President Collin Noble ’19 and ASUPS Vice President Samantha Inouye ’19, and wish them great success as they assume these important leadership roles. We look forward to working with you!

Sincerely, 

Robert C. Pohlad
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees