Samford University’s board of trustees heard encouraging reports about university activities and conducted routine business in their regular spring meeting April 19 in Birmingham.
Trustees approved candidates for May graduation pending completion of all degree requirements. Academic affairs committee chairman Buddy Champion of Trussville, Ala., noted that approval of graduates was one of the most important actions that trustees do and led a prayer of support for the spring graduates.
An honorary doctor of humane letters was approved for Nabil K. Costa, who leads Baptist work in Lebanon. The degree will be conferred at May 14 commencement ceremonies, where Costa will be speaker.
In other business, trustees approved a revised military leave policy for employees that allows for up to 15 paid days of leave for full-time employees. The previous limit was 5 days.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was approved as the university’s primary audit firm, and trustees approved some technical changes in existing bond programs.
As part of the student affairs report, trustees approved the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Samford University as an official student organization. NPHC is the governing body for historically-black sororities and fraternities. Samford currently has three active organizations and a fourth anticipates reactivating before the end of the spring semester, according to Phil Kimrey, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.
Harry B. Brock III, Samford’s vice president for business and financial affairs, reported that Samford’s net assets had increased $32.5 million during the current fiscal year, totaling $309 million as of March 31. Although final numbers will not be available until June 30, Brock projected a positive operating margin for the fiscal year.
Samford’s investment officer Lisa Imbragulio, representing the trustee investment committee, reported that Samford’s endowment was valued at about $243 million as of March 31, with a fiscal year-to-date investment return of 12.3 percent.
W. Randy Pittman, vice president for advancement, reported that fiscal year-to-date annual giving had topped $30 million as of March 31, already exceeding the $21.6 million raised in fiscal year 2010.
Gifts and pledges to “A Campaign for Samford” total $121.5 million as of April 1 and do not include several gifts that the university should receive in the next few months as estates are settled.
Sarah C. Latham, vice president for operations and planning, reported on progress for the Shades Creek enhancement and student recreation areas. Both have been hampered by recent severe weather, but parts of the student recreation area should be complete before the end of the spring semester. She also noted that the new track and soccer stadium will open in time for the Southern Conference track and field championships on April 22. The addition on Pittman Hall residential facility is on schedule for completion by the fall semester.
In his report to trustees, Westmoreland emphasized the university’s world class faculty who are teaching great students. “Remember, that is why we are here,” he said.
“Our progress continues on several fronts – our fiscal operation, our student recruitment, our academics,” he added. “This is a complex place, with lots of moving parts, and I am so grateful for the people who keep this place going.”