Board approves budget, discusses IGC

By Matt Day

Big things are on the horizon for Macalester’s Board of Trustees. At its May meeting the Board will announce a permanent successor to Jeffrey Larson, who stepped down as Board chair in August. The Rev. Timothy Hart-Andersen is currently serving as interim chair.

After commencement in May the college will break ground on the Institute for Global Citizenship, which will reside where Winton Health Services presently stands.

The Board’s October 10-12 meeting will also coincide with the public launch of the college’s capital campaign. Trustee Jerry Crawford ’71 announced that former broadcast journalist Aaron Brown will serve as master of ceremonies for the event.

At the March 6-7 meeting, however, the proceedings were “kind of boring,” according to a member of the finance committee. The biggest announced news was progress on fundraising and the announcement of philanthropist Shelby Davis’ $13.5 million gift to Macalester graduates who attended the United World College secondary schools.

The Macalester Athletic and Recreation Center is $4.5 million away from being fully funded, the IGC building fund is nearly 75 percent toward its goal and the capital campaign just passed the $83 million mark, Crawford said in what amounted to a financial “state of the college” address to the board.

Despite a generally upbeat report on the college’s finances from Chief Investment Officer Craig Aase, Crawford cautioned that the disparity in the available resources between Macalester and its peer institutions “is likely to continue to grow.”

“The board meeting was largely informational and kind of experimental,” student Board Liaison Blythe Austin ’08, noting that for the first time in the board’s history, not all the committees met during the meeting.

Instead of conducting business as usual, each board member sat in on a class at the 10:50 a.m. slot March 7.

“Trustees love the interaction with students,” Austin said. “It has increased so much this year, and they’ve loved it.”

One of the board’s sessions, titled “Why can’t we be like Harvard” focused on the endowment, tuition, and financial aid. Harvard made headlines and started a financial aid arms race in 2007 by eliminating student loans.

“Schools doing that have very large endowments or a very small percentage of students on financial aid,” Austin said, echoing the sentiment of the board’s finance committee.