May 2017 Board Report

Board of Trustees Meeting
May 2017

The board of trustees recently concluded its May meetings, during which we began preparations for the board’s role in the development of a new strategic plan to guide the university under President Crawford’s leadership.

The trustees are highly engaged and motivated to play our part in this process, paying particular attention to developing the right means and methods to encourage participation from all constituencies—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and others. More information on this work will be available in the fall.

The highlight of the trustees’ time on campus is the opportunity to spend time hearing and learning from students, as well as members of the faculty and staff. While each student has different experiences and stories about their time at Puget Sound, a common thread in these conversations is enthusiasm and desire for the university to continue to become an ever better place. That’s what we want for every student who comes here—with the highest batting average possible—as we trustees play our part in fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

To that end, we were pleased to welcome Amanda Diaz ’18 to her new role as ASUPS president, and look forward to working with her. In a written report to the board, Amanda reported on the ASUPS agenda for the coming year, including a commitment to foster meaningful dialogue, action, and progress on issues of concern to the student body. We also heard from other ex-officio members of the executive committee of the board: Alumni Council President Leslie Skinner Brown ’92, who is concluding three years of strong and effective leadership and highlighted the significant gains of the Alumni Council in meeting its goals; and Faculty Senate Chair Alisa Kessel, who provided a written report on the activities and actions taken by the Faculty Senate during the spring semester, as well as important topics for faculty in the coming year.

In other business:

  • We reviewed and affirmed Puget Sound’s Code of Conduct.
  • We reviewed a proposed separation of the existing Campus Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Sexual Misconduct into two distinct policies: one prohibiting sexual misconduct, and one prohibiting discrimination and harassment. The former was approved, and we offered suggestions for the latter, which we hope to affirm by the beginning of the fall semester.
  • We reviewed the performance of the Puget Sound Fund, which finished April down 2.5 percent from last year. We anticipate that the pace of fundraising will increase as we enter the fall, and were pleased to learn of a seven-figure gift made just this past week to support endowment for financial aid.
  • The Investment Subcommittee met with members of the student investment club regarding its management of a $100,000 endowment established as an experiential learning opportunity by Ken ‘82 and Rosemary Willman P’15, P’18. The subcommittee reported that the university’s endowment was valued at $346 million as of March 31, with a fiscal year-to-date return of 10.41 percent, outperforming the benchmark of 8.12 percent.
  • Funding was authorized to advance the design of a new Welcome Center for prospective students and their families.
  • Current year operating projections were reviewed, as well as an update on next year’s financial outlook based on updated enrollment projections.  

At the close of our meetings, we thanked departing trustees for their service and elected new trustees to join us in carrying on their good work. We elected as trustees emeriti Rick Brooks ’82, Ken McGill ’61, and Robert Shishido ’72, P’09, and elected to the board effective July 1 new trustee J. Mariner Kemper ’95 and returning trustee Kenneth Willman ’82, P’15, P’18. We also expressed our gratitude to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Mike Segawa, who is leaving Puget Sound June 1, after 13 years of service.

Finally, in closed session we were pleased to formally approve promotion to Professor for the following faculty members: Gareth Barkin, sociology and anthropology; Robert Boyles, physical therapy (clinical professor); Daniel Burgard, chemistry; Lynnette Claire, business and leadership; Tatiana Kaminsky, occupational therapy; Alisa Kessel, politics and government; Jan Leuchtenberger, Asian languages and cultures; Benjamin Lewin, sociology and anthropology; J. Brad Reich, business and leadership; Elise Richman, art and art history; Katherine Smith, history; Amy Spivey, physics; Jonathan Stockdale, religious studies; Rand Worland, physics; and Steven Zopfi, music.

For more information about the work of the board, including 2017–18 committee appointments, student and faculty representatives, and more, please visit

Sincerely (and with congratulations to the members of the Class of 2017 and their families!),

Robert Pohlad P'07
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees