The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents, meeting in regular session on Monday, Jan. 30, voted to retain its slate of officers.
Craig Turner will continue to serve as chair, Alan Long as vice chair, Barry Poynter as treasurer and Dana Fohl as secretary. Poynter is vice president for finance and administration at the University, and Fohl serves as deputy counsel.
The Board also approved a resolution providing for the issuance and sale of up to $75 million in general receipt bonds. The University is using funds from a mandatory student fee to finance a new student recreation center, renovations to the Student Union and a pedway across the Eastern By-Pass.
Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations, reported to the Board that giving for the first half of the fiscal year totaled approximately $3.9 million in gifts and commitments. The University is coming off a record year in fundraising.
In another presentation, Dr. Laurie Carter, executive vice president and University counsel, noted that the University’s freshman retention rate continues to improve. Of the 2,243 first-time, full-time freshmen enrolled in Fall 2016, approximately 88 percent are enrolled this semester. She also pointed out that the four-year graduation rate has reached 29.71 percent, almost double the 15.67 percent mark just six years ago. The five-year graduation rate of 45.28 percent is up from 33.22 percent six years ago.
The improvement in student success metrics bodes well as the University enters into a new era of performance-based funding, a frequent topic of conversation at the meeting.
“So much will be determined by how we perform in the next while,” President Michael Benson said. “EKU has to (go) all-out and be all-in. Our future hangs in the balance.”
The past calendar year, Benson added, “was a tough year, but it’s behind us, and I’m looking forward with the glass half-full. If anybody is worried about the future at EKU, you don’t need to be. We have quality people, and we’re headed in the right direction.”
In his remarks, Chair Turner said, “Our goal, our challenge, is to make sure Eastern remains a great institution.”
The Board also heard presentations from Dr. Janna Vice, senior vice president for academics and provost; Dr. David McFaddin, vice president for engagement and regional stewardship; Poynter; Dr. Brett Morris, executive director of enrollment management; Steve Lochmueller, director of athletics; Dr. Steve Wrightson, executive director of Bluegrass Community Health Care Center; Vice Provost Dr. Sherry Robinson, Student Regent Colin Potter; Dr. Shirley O’Brien, chair, Faculty Senate; and Ann Cotton, chair, Staff Council; among others.