It was hardly your ordinary location for a Board of Regents meeting.
But after an epic winter storm buried the Eastern Kentucky University campus in a foot of snow, it was EKU Facilities Services staff who came to the rescue, cleaning streets and lots and scraping sidewalks, allowing classes to resume on Monday, Jan. 25.
So maybe it was most fitting that this Board meeting, also on Jan. 25, was held in the headquarters of Facilities Services, the Gentry Building.
EKU President Michael Benson began his report by saluting the work done by Facilities Services employees, not just during the recent storm but year-round. “Lots of people go into making sure this campus works,” he said.
Appropriate, perhaps, to the carpentry shop site of the morning portion of the meeting, the Board heard several leading campus officials speak about how their operations were helping to build a better Eastern:
· Dr. Laurie Carter, executive vice president and University counsel, reported that a new welcome center and student success center will both open in February. She also discussed improvements in graduation and retention rates amid records and near-records in both overall enrollment and academic quality of this year’s freshman class.
· Dr. David McFaddin, executive director of engagement and regional stewardship, said a large campus and local contingent will converge on Frankfort on Feb. 17 for the University’s annual Colonels at the Capitol Day. He also noted that regional campus enrollment is on the upswing and that demand is high for EKU’s Dual Credit Program that enables high school students to earn college credit.
· Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations, told the Board that giving for the first six months of this fiscal year easily surpassed totals for the same period last year. The approximately $3.2 million raised from July through December 2015 was the third-best six-month figure in University history, he said, and $1.2 million ahead of last year’s pace. Eastern is coming off its best fundraising year since 2001.
· Athletics Director Steve Lochmueller reported that the Colonel Club now has 711 members, compared to 437 a year ago, and that cash gifts to Athletics are up 75 percent.
· Dr. Richard Day, chair of the Faculty Senate, noted a “fresh energy centered on faculty excellence” and thanked the Provost’s Office and University deans for their commitment to quality.
· Student Regent Katie Scott said the Student Government Association will soon introduce LiveSafe, a mobile app that will enhance campus safety. A news conference is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 1, to coincide with the launch.
· Facilities Services Director David Williams introduced a video that detailed the services provided by the operation he heads.
In other business, the Board re-elected Craig Turner to another one-year term as its chair.
The meeting moved to the Whitlock Building after lunch, which was also held at Facilities Services.