Published October 12, 2018
What a weekend! As I shared in my campus update on Wednesday, we are continuing to receive positive comments regarding our Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, October 4-7. From the strong attendance at events, milestone reunions, and alumni recognitions to our various athletic contests, and celebrations, the weekend proved a huge success. My thanks to everyone who played a role in making this year's Homecoming wonderful. An event of this nature requires many hands, and the results of such collaborations showed.
I also noted during Wednesday's conversation that the Board has approved a FY19 budget that includes a 2% salary pool. Increases will go into effect December 1 and will include a 1% across-the-board increase (with exceptions for recent hires). In addition, atop the northwestern edge of campus, our Health, Wellness & Athletics facility is continuing to take shape. Expect more communications around this effort to be forthcoming as we look to re-open the 1929 building, or the "old gym," by February 1.
On the advancement and enrollment fronts, I was pleased to be able to introduce Carola Thorson, our new vice president for enrollment, and Molly Fannon Williams, our new interim vice president for advancement and alumni engagement, at the Board meeting. I know many of you have had a chance to engage with each of them in their first few days on campus. Carola reports that the first acceptance letters for next year's class are heading out, and Molly was delighted with the Board's decision to continue moving forward with the planning and the early stages of a comprehensive campaign.
I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the concern we all shared Wednesday with regard to the recent emergency notification that was sent out on Sunday after a sexual assault on our campus. The incident is being investigated fully by Wittenberg and Springfield police, and we are providing support for all those in need. I want to reiterate that the safety of our students and all members of our community is a top priority, so I am again encouraging each of you to continue to "see something, say something." Our values speak to educating the mind to know and the heart to care, and your voice is critical as we work to deliver a safe, exceptional, integrated educational experience grounded in the liberal arts tradition.
Michael Frandsen, Ph.D.
As a reminder, Mary Jo Zembar and Casey Gill are planning a half-day, all-campus retreat during Fall Break, October 16, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., in the CDR. Our time together will allow us all to think about our respective roles, especially as they pertain to being a student-ready campus. Topics include an overview of who are students are and what our students have told us about their experience to date.
A Mission That Matters
We all know we face challenges, and they can take a toll on morale. In the face of that, I think it is important to celebrate the good things and to remind ourselves why we are all here. Toward that end, University Communications is in the process of developing a series of short videos that highlight the power of Wittenberg through the voices of our students, faculty, and staff. My thanks to Kimberly Mugford '21 from Toledo, Ohio, for being the first one to share what makes Wittenberg so special.
Congratulations to the Office of Student Involvement for hosting the very successful SPARK: Sharing Passion, Authenticity, and Responsible Knowledge last week. The Facebook Live event featured student speakers sharing their connection to calling and talking passionately about knowledge they wish to pass on to others.
On Saturday, October 6, we took the time to honor and recognize several alumni and friends during the second annual Legacies & Leadership: A Celebration of Philanthropy. Those recognized included all our alumni award winners, members of our Benjamin Prince Society and other giving societies, as well as Karin '64 and Roy Allen '63, and the late William Allen Harris ‘46, whose names were among the latest to be added to our $1M donor wall at the campus Seal. A special video on our alumni award winners was also shown.
Six Wittenberg greats were inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Honor during 2018 Homecoming Weekend festivities, in addition to an alumnus who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
On Thursday, October 4, members of the Board of Directors, including Wes Bates '70, lead donor for our HWA initiative, participated in an official beam signing at the Wittenberg Stadium. The beam will be visible after construction is complete to remind passers-by about the power of philanthropy in the life of the University.
As a follow-up to my earlier campus email, the search for the Provost is now officially underway. The position is being advertised in multiple outlets, and the committee expects to have candidates on campus early next semester.
Staff Advisory Council Shout-Out
After speaking with the members of our Staff Advisory Council (SAC), I have decided to include a new feature in this communication, which seeks to recognize people and divisions across the University as recommended by SAC. This month's shout-out goes to our entire Physical Plant staff for its hard work preparing for Homecoming on top of the staff's usual hard work of keeping the University looking its best.