April Board of Governors Meeting

April Board of Governors Meeting

April 6, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

I hope this update finds you and your family feeling and doing well.  In the midst of enormously unsettling and challenging times, it should come as no surprise that our Truman community has risen to the challenge and made herculean efforts to ensure our educational mission continues and we maintain what makes Truman so special, even if we must do so from a distance and in ways we never imagined.  It has not been easy and our adjustments are far from over, but I am enormously grateful that our community has chosen to take control of our destiny in every way we can during these unprecedented times.

Our Board of Governors also adjusted to the requirements of these times when they held their annual April meeting on Saturday, April 4, under the direction of board chair Jennifer Kopp Dameron.  The meeting, normally held on campus and in conjunction with the annual Foundation Banquet, was instead conducted through Zoom/conference call with all 10 board members participating.

The Board welcomed Philip J. Christofferson, a new member of the Board of Governors who began his term on February 27.  Governor Christofferson is a partner and owner in the St. Louis law firm of Cockriel & Christofferson, LLC.  He served as Student Representative to the Truman Board of Governors from 1991-1994, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Truman in 1995, and graduated from The University of Chicago Law School in 1998.  In addition, the Board approved a resolution of appreciation in recognition of Governor Laura A. Crandall who served on the board from January 2016 to February 2020.  It is the expectation that Governor Crandall will be recognized in person at either the June or August board meeting.

During the Board of Governors meeting and within their Finance and Auditing Committee meeting, the Board heard several reports.  I provided the President’s Report detailing the tireless work of the students, faculty, staff and administration in regard to the many challenges the campus community has had to deal with in regard to COVID-19, along with a budget update noting in particular the Governor’s recent withholding of 1/12 of the state appropriation for all public higher education institutions (over $3.3 million for Truman) and the crediting to students accounts for room and board plans of those who have not lived on campus since spring break (expected to be over $4 million).  Within the committee meeting and at the open meeting, the Board also reviewed financial reports, approved engagement letters for the upcoming audit, completed a risk assessment, received an update on enrollment management and marketing, and reviewed the status of on-campus construction projects.

In terms of action items, the Board approved a $50,000 increase in the project budget for the Greenwood Site Development Project, a project previously approved by the Board in October 2019.  With this increase, the project will still be within the FY2020 state appropriation and the additional scope of work will include exterior painting, repair of soffits, and gutter replacement.

Lastly, given the budget pressures the University is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board approved a one-time faculty early retirement incentive program with a separation/retirement date no later than May 31, 2021.  An early retirement incentive program for staff was thoroughly investigated by the administration, but such a program would not result in any savings and would cost the University money.  Eligible for the early retirement incentive program are all full-time employees holding faculty rank currently employed at Truman who meet one of the following conditions:  1) MOSERS Participant (MOSERS Retirement Eligible on or before June 1, 2021); and 2) CURP Participant (Age plus years of service must equal 70 on or before June 1, 2021).  The program is not available to employees who have already committed their written intent to retire from the University.  The program is limited to forty (40) participants and provides a cash incentive payment of $30,000 which will be payable as a lump sum upon retirement.  The enrollment period runs from April 20 through May 22, 2020.  The Human Resources Office will distribute additional information as well as directions on how to apply by April 9.

A complete copy of the open session agenda can be found on the Board of Governors website located at http://www.truman.edu/about/our-people/board-of-governors/board-of-governors-agendas/.  The next regular meeting of the Board of Governors is scheduled for Saturday, June 13.

During this continuously ever-changing landscape, please know that I and the members of the Board are deeply appreciative of all you have done and continue to do for our students and the University.  I personally cannot thank you enough for your resolute commitment to doing what needs to be done and for your steadfast willingness to adapt as we, along with everyone else, find a way to move forward.  Please take care of yourselves and each other.  Because we are Truman, I am confident we will come out even stronger when we get to the other side.

Continue to be well,