Board of Trustees Meeting

Tags Board Meeting Updates

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

The Board of Trustees held its annual December meeting over Zoom on Friday, Dec. 4. The meeting agenda was significantly shorter than usual because of the format, and even our traditional 1812 Leadership Circle Weekend events migrated online this year.

To start the morning, leaders from student life, academic affairs, and campus operations outlined COVID-19 best practices from the fall semester and how we might apply them in the spring semester. Three faculty members – Jen Borton in psychology, Martine Guyot-Bender in French, and Craig Latrell in theatre – reflected on their experiences teaching in person, remotely, and in a hybrid environment. Vice President Melissa Richards presented an overview of a new Communications and Marketing Strategic Plan.

Later, at the formal board meeting, I shared my perspective on managing through the pandemic and expressed my gratitude for the hard work and persistence put forth by all. It took planning, execution, and some luck for us to achieve the College’s three top-level goals this fall, which were to deliver in-person education, operate safely, and keep our community whole. Hamilton’s preparation, buy-in from community members, size of the College, rural location, and financial resources were certainly to our advantage.

What did we learn? For one, we discovered that Hamilton, and higher education in general, can pivot when necessary, and that we can do it quickly and well. Some 84 percent of students elected to study on campus, reminding us just how much our students value in-person learning. At the same time, we learned that managing the stress and human impact of the pandemic was even more difficult than we anticipated, something we will take into account in planning for this spring. While we cannot predict the state of the pandemic in late January, I told the board I am optimistic we will again open in person, on time, and fully enrolled.

Trustees approved financing for a refined list of capital projects previously approved in March, including new concept planning for a Digital Center, restarting the Chapel restoration, and repurposing the List Art Center. The Committee on Investments reported the value of the College’s endowment on Nov. 30 was approximately $1.2 billion.

Art Massolo ’64 recognized in memoriam his peer alumnus, trustee, and co-namesake of the Days-Massolo Center, Drew Days ’63. Sadly, later the same afternoon, we learned that Life Trustee Elizabeth McCormack passed away. Both of these leaders supported Hamilton in generous and transformative ways throughout their lives, and we are a better and stronger College because of their service. They will be missed greatly.

The next board meeting is planned for March 5-6, 2021.


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