The most recent regular meeting of the Board of Trustees and its committees took place October 31 through November 2, 2013, on the Boston and Medford/Somerville campuses. The meetings were highlighted by the election of Peter Dolan as the new Chairman of the Board and the trustees’ formal endorsement of the university’s strategic plan.
On Saturday, November 2, Chair-Designate Peter Dolan was elected to succeed James A. Stern as Chairman of the Board. Jim Stern was elected Trustee Emeritus, and in recognition of his extraordinary leadership of the trustees, will hold the title of Chairman Emeritus. He had been presented with the university’s Presidential Medal at a dinner the preceding evening.
The trustees discussed the strategic plan at the Board’s Friday plenary session, focusing particularly on the actions that would be needed to implement it over the next few years, and voted on Saturday to approve the plan.
Over the course of the weekend, the Board and its committees engaged substantively with the strategic plan and the university’s other strategic initiatives. On Saturday, the full Board discussed the proposed recommendations of the Council on Diversity, which were released to the community for comment at the end of the summer. The Council expects to release its final report in early December. Our progress on capital planning and the TEAM initiative to advance administrative effectiveness both figured in one or more Board and Committee sessions. The Administration and Finance Committee reviewed planned capital projects for the current fiscal year as well as currently anticipated capital plans for the next three years. The Academic Affairs Committee considered the implications of the strategic plan for the university’s Schools.
On Saturday, at the Board’s annual meeting, the trustees welcomed newly elected Alumni Trustee Elizabeth Cochary Gross to a five-year term and recognized the service of Anthony Cortese as Alumni Trustee since 2011. The Board elected three new trustees: John J. Bello, Bruce D. Grossman, and Elyse A. Newhouse. Departing trustees Andrew N. Liveris, Kathleen A. McCartney, Karen M. Pritzker, and Alfred I. Tauber were elected as Emeriti Trustees alongside Jim Stern. The Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, and University Advancement Committees welcomed new representatives from the TCU Senate, School faculties, and alumni.
The Administration and Finance Committee also reviewed the University’s financial report for fiscal year 2013; while we were able to post a modest operating surplus, our operating budgets remain constrained in a time of continued economic uncertainty and challenges to revenue generation. The committee also heard a report from the Investment Committee regarding the discussions of the Working Group Regarding Socially Responsible Investments and Climate Change, which the President appointed last spring and which includes trustees, faculty, students, and members of the administration; the Working Group will continue to meet and expects to submit a report to the President prior to the February Board meeting. The University Advancement Committee discussed Tufts’ efforts to prevent sexual misconduct, including the recently created President’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and University-wide policy changes and educational efforts.
This weekend once again demonstrated how greatly Tufts benefits from its Board of Trustees. The Board’s commitment to the University and its community is always apparent through their engagement, and their counsel is invaluable. We remain grateful for their service to Tufts.