Updates from the Board of Trustees Meeting

This October, the Hendrix College Board of Trustees held their fall meeting. On the 3rd, the board was able to see the progress of the new Miller Creative Quad. On the 4th, the board met within their various subcommittees before coming together to discuss campus updates and issues.

During the meeting, Dean Wiltgen spoke to the board regarding the Clery Act, which requires colleges to report crime statistics both on and around campus on a yearly basis. This information was shared with the student body by email on October 1st. After the Dean’s update, President Tsutsui led most of the meeting, and the board discussed the various challenges that the college is facing. Chief among these issues was admissions. The college has struggled with enrollment numbers over the past few years. On a positive note, however, the number of applications received by the college has increased substantially compared to this time last year. In response to this concern, the board workshopped ways to increase enrollment. They also discussed the overall financial situation of the college and places where costs might increase in the years to come. An important goal of these discussions was to figure out how to increase the school’s enrollment without also gratuitously increasing spending.

Another major concern of the board’s is the renovation of the Heritage halls (such as Martin and Veasey). Though delayed slightly due to funding concerns, the board hopes to make these renovation plans work within the school’s current endowments.

Student Senate President Max Parker addressed the board as the official representative of the student body. He brought up student concerns about the college removing late night and how shortened caf hours might aggravate the problem of food insecurity on campus, especially for those who cannot make it in time for dinner due to their schedules. Additionally, Max touched on the importance of transparent communication between administration and students as a way to avoid future headaches.

Something the board felt strongly about was the welcoming of Esports to campus. According to Max, the addition “feels right for this student body, and there is a lot of hope that it will help with enrollment.” The board, as well as many members of administration and the student body, feel confident that this addition will have a positive impact on the Hendrix community.

The 34-member Board of Trustees is required to meet twice a year. The board is chaired by Albert Braunfisch ’86, who has been a member of the board since 2006 and chair since 2017. The college also welcomed three new members to the board this year: the Rev. Stephen Coburn ’81, the Rev. Mark Norman, and the Rev. Sara Cole Pair ’94. Their three-year terms officially began with this meeting. While the spring meeting is usually more substantial, this meeting was a great opportunity for the board to see the day-to-day functioning of the college and see how changes on campus are progressing. The main goal of the Board of Trustees is to focus on making the college thrive in the long-term, so these meetings are an important way for them to stay in touch at the ground level.

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