May 2016 Board Report

Board of Trustees Meeting
May 2016

Following is an overview of topics discussed and actions taken at the May 12-13 meetings of the board of trustees. More information about the board is available at

Each meeting includes an executive session with the president; workshops on topics related to campus initiatives and trustee responsibilities; policy committee meetings (academic and student affairs; development and alumni relations; and finance and facilities); operating committee meetings (audit and trusteeship); and a business meeting open to the campus community.

The trustees passed a resolution honoring President Ron Thomas with the titles of President Emeritus, Trustee Emeritus, and Professor of English Emeritus, and recognized Ron and Mary Thomas for their exceptional leadership and for the landmark transformations made at the college during their 13 years of service by renaming Commencement Hall in honor of Ronald R. and Mary D. Thomas. The name Thomas Hall will be engraved on the building this summer.

Chief Diversity Officer Michael Benitez and campus colleagues presented Threshold 2022: Cultivating a Culture of Inclusive Excellence, the university’s second diversity strategic plan.

Presenters included Diversity Advisory Committee members Ellen Peters, Dave Wright ’95, Renee Simms, Grace Livingston, Amy Ryken, and Allison Cannady-Smith. Trustees were asked to reflect on three questions:

  • What is the role of the board to promote and achieve a diverse and inclusive community at Puget Sound?
  • What role might you as a trustee have in contributing to the execution and success of the Diversity Strategic Plan goals and objectives?
  • What suggestions from your areas of work or experience would you add to the drafted strategies?

Advance reading for trustees included “Why Boards Must Become Diversity Stewards” (Trusteeship, May/June 2014) and “Rethinking Gender Equity in Higher Education,” (Diversity & Democracy, Association of American Colleges & Universities, Spring 2015).

Business meetings are open to all members of the campus community.

Meeting Dates 
The trustees approved upcoming meeting dates: October 6-7, 2016 planning retreat; and May 11-12, 2017 annual meeting. Dates for the February 2017 meeting are still being considered.

President's Report
President Thomas thanked those in attendance for their work throughout the meetings and the many accomplishments over the past 13 years, and expressed his confidence regarding the work still ahead. In a written report provided in advance, he provided a comprehensive overview of progress since the last trustee meeting. Highlights include: 

  • Presidential transition. Three visits of President-elect Isiaah Crawford during the spring semester to meet with faculty, students, cabinet members, and the president.
  • Academic affairs. The approval of African American Studies as a major effective 2016-17; the Environmental Policy and Decision-making program will become a department concurrent with the initial offering of the EPDM major in 2016-17, with Professors Dan Sherman and Rachel DeMotts moving from Politics and Government to EPDM; 28 courses have been approved for the Knowledge, identity, and Power graduation requirement; and progress on Humanities and Culture in the Digital Age and Experiential Learning initiative.
  • Student affairs. Ongoing work in the areas of student mental health and in sexual violence, prevention, education, and response, including participation in a national research project on consent, and a grant to participate along with seven other schools as part of the White House It’s On Us campaign.
  • Enrollment. From a record pool of applicants (10% increase over last year), we are on target to achieve our goal of 669 first-year students. We are excited by the results of the implementation of several Enrollment Work Group recommendations to develop strategies to diversify our student population, with significant increases in students of color and underrepresented minoritized students. First generation college students have also increased and the academic profile is notably higher in terms of high school GPA, standardized tests, and average academic rating.
  • Campus safety. Completed installation of electronic locks on exterior doors of all major buildings to enable central lock-down; repurposed funds to add two security officers and a new dispatching position to achieve 24/7 professional security dispatching coverage; and several forums conducted this spring on campus safety.
  • Alumni. The president has visited regional alumni club chapters throughout the country including Boise, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma, and Washington DC, meeting with more than 800 alumni, parents, and friends and thanking them for their support.
  • Looking forward. President Thomas concluded his report with a quotation from Tennyson’s Ulysses, recited as part of his inaugural address. Looking to Puget Sound’s future, he wrote: “We have done a great deal, and a great deal remains to be done. But our eyes remain on the heights before us, and we remain determined to strive to ascend them, to seek and find and embrace the challenges before us, resolved not to yield to any obstacles that keeps us from our destiny. That is who we are.”

ASUPS President Report
Noah Lumbantobing ‘17
Noah was welcomed to the board and expressed his interest in working closely with trustees on issues of concern to Puget Sound students. In a written report provided in advance, he reported on:

  • Campus climate and equity. Discussed experiences of students of color at Puget Sound and struggles associated with attending a predominately white institution (PWI).
  • ASUPS budget. Allocation of $10,000 to Counseling, Health and Wellness Services in order to provide more hours of mental health services; $20,000 (dependent on a revision of the ASUPS Financial Code) to support endowment of the Black Student Union and Latinos Unidos scholarships; $10,000 to support the growth of the LGBT Leadership scholarship; and $3,000 to the Race and Pedagogy Initiative.
  • Staffing. Created the new position of Cultural Competency Programmer.

Alumni Council Report
Leslie Skinner Brown '92, president of the Alumni Council
Leslie referred to the communications efforts outlined in her written report, provided in advance of the meeting:

  • Communications plan. The executive committee is continuing its strategic work of creating an alumni communications plan, scheduled to be completed this summer. The plan focuses on targeted communications, measuring and communicating the successes of the Alumni Council, and effective communications among alumni volunteers.
  • Priorities. Plans are underway to operationalize the Alumni Council’s goals to increase alumni participation and to ensure that volunteers feel valued. The Council is preparing to welcome alumni and friends to campus for Summer Reunion Weekend (June 10–12) and is encouraging gifts to the Alumni Fund.
  • Outreach. The Council will hold events with alumni clubs around the country to welcome new graduates of the Class of 2016, and has sent 4,500 handwritten postcards to welcome admitted students to the Class of 2020.

Report of the Faculty Senate Chair
Ariela Tubert, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Faculty Senate
Ariela was recognized by the board for her two years of service, and thanked trustees for a fruitful experience. In a written report provided in advance, she reported on:

  • Common period. A report on Faculty Senate and faculty meeting discussions regarding establishment of a Common Period, Wednesdays from noon – 1:30 p.m., during which departments should avoid scheduling classes in order to facilitate faculty members’ involvement in shared governance.
  • Change to Faculty Bylaws. The Faculty Senate Chair, rather than the university president, will preside at faculty meetings going forward, a change motivated by best practices in faculty governance.
  • New Faculty Senate chair. Ariela Tubert has completed her term of service as Faculty Senate Chair and will be succeeded by Alisa Kessel, associate professor and chair of Politics and Government.

Professor Tubert thanked the trustees, Chair Rick Brooks, President Thomas, and Vice President Kris Bartanen for their support during her tenure as Faculty Senate chair.

Audit Committee (operations committee)
Chair:  Bill Nelson ’69 

  • Statement of duties and responsibilities approved.
  • Code of conduct. Puget Sound’s Code of Conduct was reviewed by the committee, and no changes are recommended. To date there have been no calls made to the externally managed Compliance Helpline, which is a hotline to facilitate reporting of possible violations under the Code of Conduct.
  • Enterprise risk management (ERM). The committee reviewed a status report on the university’s ERM program. In light of increasing concern nationwide regarding campus violence, as well as three recent gun-related incidents on campus, the committee reviewed and discussed risks associated with violent acts and the mitigations implemented or under consideration to reduce that risk.
  • Federal tax return review. The committee reviewed Puget Sound’s fiscal 2015 federal tax returns.

Academic and Student Affairs Committee (policy committee)
Chair: Marvin Caruthers P’02
Faculty Representative: Sigrun Bodine, mathematics and computer science
Student Representative: Rachel Anderson ’17 

  • Statement of duties and responsibilities were reviewed and approved.
  • Faculty bylaws. The committee considered an amendment to the Faculty Bylaws, approved by 75% of those voting in the Faculty Meeting of April 12, 2016, to change the presiding officer for Faculty Meetings from the president of the university (or dean of the university, in the absence of the president) to the elected chair of the Faculty Senate.
  • Enrollment. The committee heard an update from Vice President for Enrollment Jenny Rickard, reporting 742 active deposits toward a first-year enrollment goal of 669. Characteristics of the incoming glass (first-generation, diversity, academic profile) look strong.
  • Mental health. The committee discussed mental health and increasing suicide incident reports, part of a national trend, with Dean of Student Mike Segawa. The FY2017 budget includes more funding for psychological counseling staff and ASUPS has also designated funds to supplement that increase.
  • Sexual misconduct. The committee heard about ongoing work on changes to the Campus Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Sexual Misconduct and a partnership with San Jose State University to build stronger student understanding of consent in sexual relationships.
  • ASUPS. The committee welcomed Noah Lumbantobing ’17 as ASUPS president, offered him the opportunity to outline key plans for his administration, and segued into a follow up on the Diversity Strategic Plan Workshop, including topics of inclusion/exclusion; increased diversity of the student body, faculty, and staff; transgender housing and restroom facilities; and the board’s role in setting policy and guidelines in achieving enrollment objectives.

Development and Alumni Relations Committee (policy committee)
Chair: Bill Weyerhaeuser
Faculty Representative: Daniel Burgard, chemistry
Student Representative: Rachel Askew ’16

  • Statement of duties and responsibilities reviewed and approved.
  • Comprehensive fundraising total. Through April 30, 2016, new commitments to the university for this fiscal year totaled $4.3 million. This figure places Puget Sound behind our desired pace as we seek to raise $58 million during the five-year period that began on July 1, 2015. We do not anticipate reaching the $12 million goal for the current fiscal year. The projected shortfall is attributed to an absence of commitments at the $500,000 level and above due in part to the transition to a post-campaign environment (following successful conclusion of the comprehensive One [of a Kind] campaign) and due to the transition in presidential leadership.
  • Annual fund. The Puget Sound Fund finished April 2016 with $2.1 million (an increase of 4.9% over last year) and is positioned to reach its FY16 goal of $2.92 million. The Alumni Fund is up 5.7%, the Parent Fund is up 10.6%, and the Friends Fund is down 11.9%. The alumni donor count through April 30 was 4,097, an increase of 4.3% over last year. Alumni participation through April 30 is 12.9%, an increase of one-third of a point relative to last year.
  • Alumni Council report. The committee heard from Alumni Council President Leslie Brown ’92, who discussed the role of the Alumni Council and efforts to engage alumni of different generations.
  • Alumni participation. The committee reviewed national alumni participation trends, young alumni participation, the Alumni Fund appeal schedule, and a May 2016 crowd funding initiative to support Alumni Fund scholarships and experiential learning.

Finance and Facilities Committee (policy committee)
Chair: Guy Watanabe ’75, M.B.A.’76
Faculty Representative: Kate Stirling, economics
Student Representative: Jessalyn Kreutzer ’16 

  • Statement of duties and responsibilities reviewed and approved.
  • Designation of unrestricted funds. The committee recommended and the board approved revisions to the Designation of Unrestricted Funds Policy to enable unused faculty sabbatical budget to be carried over from one year to the next to accommodate fluctuations in sabbatical usage.
  • Pooled cash investment policy. The committee approved minor refinements as recommended by its Investment Subcommittee.
  • Gift acceptance policy. The committee approved changes to the Gift Acceptance Policy as recommend by the Development and Alumni Relations Committee and the Investment Subcommittee, which include an increase to minimum endowment gift levels to provide for the sufficiency of spending distributions from new endowment funds.
  • Athletics and Aquatics Center. The committee received an update from the Facilities Subcommittee on the status of the project and a tour of the center, which is substantially complete and will open in August 2016.
  • Current year operations. The committee reviewed projections for current year operations, including an estimated educational and general surplus of $1,675,000, of which $1,250,000 will be added to quasi unrestricted endowment, per policy, and an estimated $854,000 surplus from Auxiliary operations, which will be reinvested in auxiliary projects, per policy.
  • The committee also heard updates from management on the university’s real estate interests and technology projects.

Committee on Trusteeship (operations committee)
Chair: Lyle Quasim ’70, Hon.’05

  • Statement of duties and responsibilities reviewed and approved.
  • Reviewed proposed revisions to the University of Puget Sound Corporate Bylaws for action at the October 2016 meeting. Revisions are the result of a March 2016 legal counsel review to clarify voting rights on non-trustee members of committees, and issues related to quorum and majority.


Officers of the Corporation, FY17 Trustee Officers 
Robert C. Pohlad P’07, chair
Richard M. Brooks ’82, immediate past chair
Guy N. Watanabe ’75, MBA ’76, vice chair
Isiaah Crawford, president
Janeen McAninch ’77, P’06, treasurer

Officers of the Corporation, FY17 Non-Trustee Officers
Kristine M. Bartanen, academic vice president and dean of the university
David R. Beers P’11, vice president for university relations
Jennifer J. Rickard, vice president for enrollment
J. Michael Segawa, vice president for student affairs and dean of students
Sherry B. Mondou, vice president for finance and administration
Lorin D. Seager, associate vice president for finance
Janet Hallman ’84, associate vice president for financial planning and analysis
Mary Elizabeth Collins ’81, P’02, secretary of the corporation

Re-elected to the Class of 2019
Carl G. Behnke
Mitzi W. Carletti ‘78
Marvin H. Caruthers P’02
Rolf Engh P’14
Janeen McAninch ’77, P’06
Beth M. Picardo ‘83
Bruce L. Titcomb ’80, P’13
Nicholas D. Vasilius ‘07
Guy N. Watanabe ’75, MBA ‘76

Newly elected to the Class of 2019
Bradbury F. Cheney ’82, executive director, Ben B. Cheney Foundation and president, Cheney Capital Investments, Tacoma, WA. Brad is an emeritus trustee who served on the board from 2002-10.

David J. Watson ’92, co-founder and CEO, Hubbuzz Inc., Los Altos, CA. David served as Alumni Council president from 2008-14.

Susan L. Wilson ’87, managing director, Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), Newport Beach, CA. Susie served as a member of the Puget Sound National Alumni Board from 1998-2000.

Randolph C. Foster ’74, attorney and partner, Stoel Rives LLP, Portland, OR. Randy is an emeritus trustee who served on the board from 2005-14.

Elected trustees emeriti
Eric W. Lindgren
William C. Nelson ’69
Jill T. Nishi ’89
Kenneth W. Willman ’82, P’15, P’17

Closed Session

Promotion to Full Professor
James Bernhard, mathematics and computer science
Alva Butcher, business and leadership
Andrew Gardner, sociology and anthropology
Janet Marcavage, art and art history
Gary McCall, exercise science
Aislinn Melchior, classics
Jennifer Neighbors, history
Alison Tracy Hale, English
Seth Weinberger, politics and government
Linda Williams, art and art history

Statement on Divestment
A message was sent to the campus community following the closed session with additional information and a link to the full statement at

Trustees also participated in a dinner honoring recently promoted and/or tenured faculty, the annual Phi Beta Kappa luncheon honoring new inductees, academic convocation, a dinner celebrating this year’s honorands and outgoing Board Chair Rick Brooks ’82, a dinner honoring President and Mary Thomas, and Commencement.

In addition to those named above, the trustees express appreciation to the many faculty, staff, students, and alumni who participated in the board meetings and related events, and to all those who worked together to assist with preparations and provide the support that enabled a successful and productive series of meetings for Puget Sound’s trustees.


 Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff from Board Chair
May 13, 2016

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The board of trustees has just concluded our spring meetings, during which we discussed the transition of Puget Sound’s incoming president, Dr. Isiaah Crawford, in July; engaged in discussion with members of the Diversity Advisory Council about the recently introduced Diversity Strategic Plan; toured the new Athletics & Aquatics Center; and addressed the question whether Puget Sound should make any changes to how its endowment is invested in light of concerns about global climate change.

 A more complete accounting of actions taken at the board meeting will be distributed next week but, as interest in the question of divestment from fossil fuels has been high and the academic year is rapidly coming to a close, I wanted to make this information immediately available to you.

 Over the past two years the board has gathered and assessed information from multiple groups and sources to inform a responsible decision regarding calls on it to divest from fossil fuel holdings in the university’s endowment. Our discussions have considered the university’s mission and our fiduciary duty as trustees, donor intent, the university’s commitment to sustainability, campus community concerns about climate change, economic impact, the complexities of divestment, and other issues. A statement just ratified by the full board on the question of divestment and six actions to which we have committed is available at; trustee Ken Willman ‘ 82, P’15, P’17, chair of the board’s Investment Subcommittee, also met today with student representatives from Puget Sound ECO to review the board’s commitment and convey the board’s appreciation for the robust and respectful exchange of views between representatives of ECO and the board.

This is my last meeting as board chair; Robert Pohlad P’07, who led the presidential search committee, will become board chair effective July 1 as Dr. Isiaah Crawford begins his service as president. It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work with the campus community in my role as board chair, and I look forward to seeing many of you this weekend at Commencement.


Rick Brooks ‘82
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees