Trustees Talk Campaign and Budget

The Board of Trustees convened this weekend to celebrate the public launch of the capital campaign and to receive progress reports on Andover’s finances. Nancy Jeton, Special Assistant to the Head of School, said that this Trustees meeting was unlike previous ones in that the discussions did not center on policy decisions, but rather on the celebration of the campaign and its donors. Harvard University’s Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons also spoke to the Trustees about his insider’s perspective into Harvard’s admissions process, and how Andover students have competed within the national pool of applicants. “Fitzsimmons talked about how the demography of college admissions is changing — geographically, socioeconomically — and where Andover students fit in to the picture,” said Jeton. “I don’t think it’s an easy topic to understand,” she continued. But Fitzsimmons “showed that [college admissions today] are a very different scene now, and I think the Trustees came out more educated on how complex the admissions situation is,” she said. Over the weekend, the Board of Trustees also welcomed five new members: Chien Lee ’71, Gary Lee ’74, Tammy Snyder Murphy ’83, Mary-Ann Somers ’82 (Chair of the Annual Giving Board) and Susan Donahue ’73 (President of the Alumni Council), according to Tracy Sweet, Director of Academy Communications. The new Trustees joined the other members in remembering the legacy of Theodore Ryland Sizer, Headmaster of Phillips Academy from 1972 to 1981, who recently passed away in his home in Cambridge, MA. Last Friday, they held a tribute to Sizer, who championed education reform not only at Andover, but across the nation. The Trustees deliberated over how to spend the money from the campaign, keeping in line with the goals from Andover’s 2004 Strategic Plan. Final decisions will be determined in later Trustees meetings. Amy Falls ’82, Chief Investment Officer, explained some of the factors behind the relatively strong performance of Andover’s endowment—a 15.1 percent decrease, compared to much higher percentage drops for endowments at Harvard and Yale. According to Sweet, Falls said that Andover was not forced to sell its assets at “fire sale” – or extremely discounted – prices. Falls also briefed Trustees on the completion of Andover’s issuance of $40 million in bonds, which were rated AAA, the highest possible bond rating. Steve Carter, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, reported on Andover’s financial state in preparation for the 2010-2011 school year. He also addressed the school’s progress towards the $6 million budget restructuring, which Trustees recommended last year. The Financial Aid Task Force, the Academy Resources Committee and the Campaign Steering Committee all presented progress reports to the Trustees. Sweet said, “This is a really important time for Andover, because all of these links are starting to come together.” Peter Ramsey, Secretary of the Academy, said, “The committees came together to share thoughts on what they had been doing collaboratively and, in a sense, independently.” Students and faculty also spoke to the Board of Trustees for the Education Committee about “integrative learning” at Andover, according to Sweet. Flavia Vidal, Instructor in English, and Carroll Perry, Instructor in History, presented on the course they co-teach about Brazilian cultural studies. Chris Walter, Instructor in Music, and Marcelle Doheny, Instructor in History, similarly discussed an interdisciplinary course they are teaching in the spring about the influence of government on musicians’ compositions in the twentieth century. Jacques Hugon, Instructor in Math, discussed independent projects in computer science, and Scotty Flemming ’10 explained his independent project in astronomy and his experience in Andover’s observatory.