Section: News

Trustees approve 2020 Plan, gift of Buckeye building

by Nathaniel Shahan

Last weekend, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved President Decatur’s 2020 Plan. It also approved the College’s new sexual misconduct policy and the acquisition of the Buckeye Candy & Tobacco building in Mount Vernon.

“We haven’t had a strategic vision like that in quite some time,” outgoing chair Barry Schwartz ’70 of the 2020 plan said in a trustee meeting with the Collegian. Finding sources of funding remains a concern, according to trustee Larry James, a Columbus-based attorney.

“You have to remember that the qualifier is always money,” he said, adding that the 2020 Plan is “a living document, it’s a work in progress,” and that what is currently spelled out in the plan may not be exactly what the College pursues.

The College’s upcoming capital campaign was also a topic of discussion over the weekend. President Sean Decatur said planning for the campaign is still very much in the early stages, though  the board’s external affairs committee took up the issue. Decatur said the Board also discussed the College’s plans for “a major assessment of what’s the possible fundraising capacity out there for the Kenyon community.” The campaign will occur in conjunction with the implementation of the 2020 Plan. According to Decatur, the next steps will involve “taking the big three priorities of the 2020 Plan and translating those into specific fundraiser initiatives.” He sees the first priority as increasing the endowment, including increasing money available for financial aid. Though the endowment is the primary goal. Decatur also plans to fund academic pursuits for professors and undergraduates and begin to improve the physical nature of the College.

No projects outlined in the Master Plan were discussed in detail during the meeting according to Decatur. The College will install an elevator in Gund Commons and replace the roofs on Bexley and Colburn Halls.There are currently no definite plans for the future of Bexley Hall. Additionally, there will also be renovations to the Gund Residence Hall lounge, the second floor of Ransom Hall and the New Apartment bathrooms. Decatur said the College has no plans for the next academic year to fully renovate any buildings to make them more accessible, including Ascension Hall. Describing the Ascension renovation as a “higher priority,” Decatur said Gund Commons was simply an “easy-to-do project” with a much lower price tag (Decatur estimates a renovation of Ascension at over $1 million). He did note that the College may conduct an Americans with Disabilities Act audit during the next academic year.

The board also finalized the College’s acquisition of the Buckeye Candy building in Mount Vernon. Renovation of the building is slated to start late this summer or early next fall, and is expected to be open for use by the fall of 2016, according to Decatur.

The spring meeting was the last that Schwartz oversaw as chair of the board. Schwartz, who has served as chair since 2011, will remain on the board and receive an honorary doctorate at Commencement. Starting in the fall, the board will be led by Brackett B. Denniston III ’69.

In addition to Schwartz, trustees concluding their tenure on the board are Donald Fischman ’57 P’13 H’85, Deborah Johnson Reeder ’85 and Samuel N. Fischer P’10. At the next meeting, in October, the board will welcome three new members: Marshall Chapin ’94, Jeff Moritz ’86 and Wendy Webster P’18.


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