University board members prepare for future

During the John Brown University Board of Trustees meetings Oct. 4-5, members received updates about the University.

Ed Ericson, vice president of academic affairs, said the board meetings “lacked substantive action” because of President Chip Pollard’s sabbatical absence.

The board has two main purposes, Ericson added. The first is to serve as gate keepers, ensuring that the University remains true to its purpose and mission. Secondly, the trustees look at the fiduciary choices the University makes.

A few of the topics covered or reviewed by the board included:

  • The University’s endowment currently contains $75 million, the highest ever in the school’s history.
  • The seven companies remain in the food bidding process, which is proceeding well.
  • A brief look at the progress on the new nursing program.

The board also approved a couple of things:

  • Board members are donating money to turn the flowerbed circle in front of the Cathedral into a fountain.
  • Continued exploration of renovating J. Alvin, including looking at the economics of doing so.
  • As normal, students will be able to graduate in December.

Jim Krall, vice president of University advancement, said the board added three new members. All three are non-alumni parents of students. There are about 30 members on the board.

They also recognized Bill Berry (’56) for his long service on the board, Krall added. Berry reached the mandatory retirement age, but received a Trustee Emeritus appointment. Emeritus members can still attend board meetings, but do not vote in the proceedings.

Ericson said the Academic Committee met with several of the new faculty members, and the trustees found them impressive in every way.

The board celebrated the successes and blessings the University has experienced, Ericson said.

Members of the Student Government Association sat in on the board’s meetings. They provided summaries of the discussions at the committees they attended.

Junior Jeremy Enders, SGA vice president of communication, reported on the finance, facility and audit board. The University has managed its finances “phenomenally,” he said, even in a not-so-great economy.

“The third-party auditor said that compared to other universities like JBU that have struggled financially in this economy, we are healthy,” he said.

Senior Kelsey Daugherty, SGA president, said she was amazed to see the University’s focus on its students.

“We have staff and faculty that truly care for us and are dedicated to our growth and development,” she said. “One thing I really would like students to know is just how much the board cares about us! They are always asking what the effect or benefits will be for students, and they want to make JBU as great as it can be.”