Fundraising exceeds last year’s goal

Story by Kyle Davis

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The Baker University Board of Trustees were on the Baldwin City campus Friday for the only meeting of the fall semester to discuss finances and the growth and future of the university.

“I think it was a great board meeting,” University President Pat Long said. “We had wonderful attendance. We had great participation.”

With a new fiscal year beginning July 1, the main focus of the October meeting is usually finance.

Chief Operating Officer Susan Lindahl said Baker’s good financial bottom line allows the university to look to the future, but the work is not over yet.

“We still have a major amount of work to do and we certainly are focused on the future, but we have a very realistic grounding in our finances today,” Lindahl said.

Trustee Rich Howell announced the advancement committee exceeded its fundraising goal last year, hoping for $605,000 and raising $721,600, which excludes a large gift that would make the total more than $1 million.

“(Advancement is) to be congratulated for all the difficult work,” Howell said during the business meeting Friday. “Dr. Long has told us about how the loads have increased on the academic staff, well, the load has increased on the functional staff as well.”

Other items on the agenda included a unanimous pass by the board to change the College of Arts and Sciences faculty handbook regarding post-tenure review, as well as the presentation of De Facto Tenure, which could be given to the board to vote on in the spring if passed by the Baker University Faculty Senate.

Also passed was a new degree program, Master of Management Information Systems, for the School of Professional and Graduate Studies.

“What’s most important to (the trustees) is that students are learning, that we’re moving forward,” Lindahl said. “To them, I think it was just very affirming that the hard work is heading us in the right direction.”

The board also met at a retreat Saturday morning at Baker’s Northland campus in Kansas City, Mo., to discuss the future of the university and more specifically, the Baker 2012 and Beyond initiative.

“I send them updates all the time, but for us to really talk through strategic planning, for them to hear some of the ideas that are coming out of each one of the task forces, to have an opportunity to engage in some of the ideas, this was their first real engagement,” Long said.

The board will meet again in February with more of a focus being on academics, and then will gather again for the final time of the school year in May.

“Our board’s committed to excellence for education, they’re committed to students, they’re committed to our faculty, our staff,” Long said. “To tell you the truth, I couldn’t ask for a better board.”