May 2023

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

As I conclude my service as Board Chair, I realize that this is my final campus message to you. It has made my time on campus this week feel even more special. As my fellow trustees and I watched another class of Loggers cross the stage on Sunday, I reflected on what it means to be a member of this Puget Sound community, especially at this time of year. It was an honor to watch my son, Chris, walk across the stage some sixteen Commencements ago, and it has been one of the great pleasures of my seven years as Board Chair to participate in Commencement each May. Trustees are always grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate with our new graduates and their families over Commencement weekend.

So, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, congratulations to the classes of 2023! And thank you to the entire campus community for their excellent teamwork and collaboration to create a special moment that appropriately recognizes the significance of this particular milestone in our students’ lives.

Campus Engagement. In their time on campus last week, trustees were fortunate to be able to enjoy breakfast with faculty colleagues and members of the Staff Senate, tour Seward Hall to see the wonderful renovations underway, view the student art show in Kittredge Art Gallery, and participate in the Phi Beta Kappa luncheon with chapter initiates, graduates, and members.

A particularly special event for us was joining members of the campus community in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking of Jones Hall. As we gathered at the steps of Jones Hall, we reflected on the generations of Loggers who have walked these steps before us. The first students to wear the path between Jones Hall and Warner Gym were born just as the 20th century dawned – around the time radios and airplanes were invented – and broke ground on this campus as the 20s roared to life.

If you look at pictures of Jones Hall from 100 years ago, you’ll recognize many features – the impressive wood doors, the broad columns, the soaring arches, and the students laughing among stacks of books and relaxing in the sun. And first-year students are generally still bright-eyed and wondering what the next four years may bring, while seniors inevitably prepare to launch from this campus and into the world. Of course, we have been constant in having talented faculty and staff whose passion and commitment to the university and its students are always at the heart of a Puget Sound education.

We can’t know what the next 100 years will bring, but I know that this is true – I am proud to be a member of this community and a part of the legacy of University of Puget Sound.

Workshop, Committee Meetings and Business Meeting. Trustees also spent time in workshops, committee meetings, and the open session business meeting to advance the institutional and strategic priorities of the university. In the workshop, we heard about the university’s enrollment progress and implementation of key strategies of A Sound Future, including reviewing academic programs for currency and distinction, supporting students and programs, realizing opportunities for more effective and efficient work, and aligning faculty and staff to our enrollment. At its business meeting, the board met and took action on several key items arising from committee discussions, including:

An annual review and approval of the roles and responsibilities of the following:

  • Board Organization & Committee Responsibilities
  • The Executive Committee
  • The Audit Committee
  • The Compensation Committee
  • The Committee on Trusteeship
  • The Academic and Student Affairs Committee
  • The Development and Alumni Relations Committee
  • The Finance and Facilities Committee and its subcommittees

The Board approved a proposed Policy on Policies that will establish standards for the campus community and provide guidance and governance for university operations. In establishing a Policy on Policies, the university aims to adopt consistent, uniform principles for the development, adoption, review, revision, and decommissioning of policies that have general institutional applicability. In adopting these standards, the university endeavors to make its policies easily accessible and understood, enhance operational efficiency, reduce institutional risk, and ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

Upon the recommendation of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, the Board of Trustees approved proposed changes to the core curriculum and undergraduate degree requirements and proposed updates to the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment. The Board also approved the Academic and Student Affairs Committee’s recommendation to change the timing of Greek life student recruitment so that it will occur in the fall rather than the spring. The Academic and Student Affairs Committee also provided a report regarding proposed interpretations of the Faculty Code from the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) and the next steps in working with the PSC to come to a unified interpretation.

The Board also approved a recommendation from the Development & Alumni Relations Committee to remove the name “Slater” from the Museum of Natural History. The Committee’s recommendation was in support of a recommendation from President Crawford endorsing the Slater Museum Name Review Committee’s unanimous findings of strong and noteworthy evidence that compellingly demonstrated that retaining the name “Slater Museum of Natural History” would be harmful to its mission and inclusiveness, and inconsistent with the university’s integrity. More information about next steps to remove the name will be shared soon with the campus community.

Finally, upon the recommendation of the Finance & Facilities Committee, the Board approved President Crawford’s 2023-24 Budget and also approved a draw from the unrestricted quasi‐endowment to cover the university’s planned FY23 operating loss.

Elections. The board also elected trustee and non-trustee officers for the upcoming year, and elected a new class of incoming trustees who will join the board on July 1. I am pleased to share that Chair-Elect Beth M. Picardo '83, J.D. '86, was formally elected as Chair and she will assume that role on July 1.

We are pleased to welcome the following newly elected trustees:

  • Maria Arellano '86
  • Ryan Dumm '07
  • Betsy Stone '79, P'14

We are also pleased to welcome back returning trustees Bruce Titcomb '80, P'13, and Nicholas Vasilius '07 as part of this new class, as well as re-electing the following trustees to the class of 2026:

Second Term

  • Mitzi Carletti '78
  • Scott Higashi '91
  • Sarah Lee '94

Third Term

  • Ken Willman '82, P'15, P'18

At this meeting, trustees Laura Inveen '76 and Erin Shagren '88, P'17 were elected as trustees emeriti. We are deeply grateful for their contributions and years of service to the university. The board also recognized the longstanding and excellent service of Bill Canfield '76, P'08 and Fred Grimm '78, who will return to trustee emeritus status, and thanked them for their significant and lasting contributions to the university. And we thanked Carla Cooper '72 and Justin Graham '90 for their contributions and service as they conclude their service on the board.

Tenure and Promotion. In closed session, we were pleased to support promotion and/or tenure of the following outstanding faculty members:

  • Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor:
    • Isha Rajbhandari, Department of Economics
    • Rokiatou Soumaré, Department of French and Francophone Studies
  • Promotion to Professor:
    • Rachel Pepper, Department of Physics
    • Siddharth Ramakrishnan, Department of Biology
  • Promotion to Associate Professor:
    • LaToya Brackett, Department of African American Studies
    • Kimberlee Ratliff, School of Education
  • Promotion to Clinical Associate Professor:
    • Amy Kashiwa, School of Occupational Therapy

More information about the trustees and our work in support of Puget Sound can be found on our website.

The trustees are grateful for the deep investments of time, talent, and energy from our faculty, staff, and students to make this university so special and extraordinary. As we celebrate our graduates, we also want to celebrate the entire campus community. Thank you to faculty, staff, and students for all that you do. I leave my role as Chair confident that this amazing university is positioned for great success going forward.

Always a Logger,

Robert C. Pohlad P’07
Chair of the Board of Trustees