Trustees Decide on Budget, Facilities, and New Board Posts

The Phillips Academy Board of Trustees convened last weekend for their annual spring meeting to dedicate the Gelb Science Center, recognize the careers of several retiring faculty members, and commemorate three trustees who recently passed away. During the weekend, the trustees also approved improvement plans for the Addison Gallery and the Peabody Museum, acknowledged new teaching foundations, and elected new board members. Before evaluating specific projects and proposals, the Board of Trustees passed a $70 million budget, an increase of about $3 million from this year’s expenditures. Chief Financial Officer Neil Cullen said that the bulk of the increase will be spent on significant additions to the financial aid program as well as a raise in faculty compensation. Once the finances were set, the trustees proceeded to pass an interim plan proposed by the Addison Gallery of American Art. “The plan that the trustees approved was devised when we did an architectural study to look into the possibility of expanding the building… Our plan solves short range problems while keeping open the possibility of expansion in the future,” explained Interim Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art Susan Faxon. The plan allots funding for new climate-control systems and allows the museum to expand its storage capacity by using neighboring buildings and off-site storage. Relocating stored art to locations out of the Addison’s main building will allow the gallery staff to reconfigure office space and improve working conditions. Also as a part of the plan, the trustees approved a proposal to expand the side driveway of the Addison in order to facilitate the transportation of art by truck. Andover’s archaeological museum also proposed a plan for the upcoming year. The Peabody Museum, which had been a centerpiece during former meetings, enjoyed a weekend out of the spotlight, however, playing only a minor role in the last week’s deliberations. The trustees agreed to permit the museum to proceed with planned fundraising to build its endowment. “If we have a large endowment, more of our operating costs can be paid with the interest, which means we will be more stable financially and no longer obliged to raise so much money just to sustain operation,” Director of the Peabody Museum Malinda Blustain noted. The Peabody’s plan to increase its endowment received an early boost after Marshall Cloyd ’58 offered a challenge gift of $500,000. “His generosity was a demonstration of his belief in the course that the museum is set on, and his gift has encouraged others to give,” Blustain added. “Now, it’s up to us to make sure that we can match his gift and enhance the endowment” During the course of their meetings, the trustees also acknowledged three funds recently established in honor of Frederick W. Beinecke, class of 1905: the Beinecke Foundation for the Chief Financial Officer, the Frederick W. Beinecke Teaching Foundation, and the Beinecke Fund for Teaching. Chief Financial Officer Neil Cullen, the first recipient of the new foundations, explained the purpose of the funds. “The idea is that someone gives a donation that supports someone that ‘holds’ the foundation. As the Chief Financial Officer, I will be the first to receive this, which is really an honor.” Anticipating the retirement of David Underwood ’54, members of the board held elections on Saturday, choosing Oscar L. Tang ’56 to serve as the new president and Thomas C. Israel ’62 to succeed Tang as treasurer. Stephen C. Sherrill ’71 was elected to serve as a charter trustee. Though this is the first time Sherrill will serve a full eight-year term, he is familiar with the workings of the board, as he held a brief trusteeship during Campaign Andover. David Underwood’s retirement this June will conclude 15 years at the helm of the Board of Trustees. Following Saturday morning’s elections, the trustees joined a crowd of 300 students and faculty to dedicate the Gelb Science Center. The dedication included a number of speakers, including School President Allegra Asplundh-Smith ’04, who offered a student perspective on the importance of the Gelb Science Center and Head of School Barbara Landis Chase, who delivered a closing address. On a more somber tone, the weekend’s events also included memorial services for Charles J. Beard II ’62, Richard L. Gelb ’41, and Melville Chapin ’36, three trustees who passed away within weeks of each other. Before the conclusion of the weekend’s deliberations, the trustees noted that over $27 million in gifts and pledges had been collected during fundraising for the Gelb Science Center. Additionally, the board reviewed the criteria for the reinstatement of off-campus programs. Last weekend’s events marked the third and final visit to campus by the Board of Trustees this year. Each year, the board meets during October, January, and April to deliberate on various issues and hold focused committee meetings to address specific concerns.