Section: News

Board of Trustees approves promotions for faculty members

The Board of Trustees held its spring 2024 meeting on April 11 and 12, coinciding with the inauguration of President Julie Kornfeld. Chaired by Aileen Hefferren ’88 H’12, the Board met in individual committees on April 11 before convening the next day for a full meeting, where it discussed the College’s strategic plan, reports from individual committee meetings, faculty tenure appointments and 2024 degree candidates.

The Board’s full meeting began with a discussion on the College’s current strategic plan, Foundations for Kenyon’s Third Century. According to an update from Kornfeld, groups of faculty and staff will work to implement the initiatives in the plans. These groups will also identify and develop the necessary infrastructure for three crucial dimensions of a Kenyon education: interdisciplinary inquiry, experiential learning and personal growth.

Vice President for Advancement Colleen Garland updated the board on the progress of the Our Path Forward to the Bicentennial fundraiser, which included over $100 million raised for financial aid and scholarships — a 69.49% percent increase from last year’s financial aid budget. The fundraiser also allocates $26 million for endowed faculty positions. When the campaign concludes at the end of June, the Board anticipates it will be the most successful in Kenyon’s history, receiving donations from over 20,000 donors.

Following Garland’s update, various strategic and operational committees reported on their spring meetings. The Campus and Finance Committee reported on their joint session with the Investment Committee to discuss Kenyon’s current debt repayment program, as well as the construction of the South Campus residence halls and state Route 229 roundabout. The committee also reported that two ad hoc committees have been exploring cost-effective strategies to reduce Kenyon’s carbon footprint, and increase options for employee housing, respectively.

The Kenyon in the World Committee discussed Kenyon’s role in the higher education media landscape, while The Inclusion and Equity Committee shared the results of the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium campus climate survey. The Student Experience Committee updated the Board on their discussion with student leaders regarding changes to the curriculum to reflect the growing interest in interdisciplinary courses among students and faculty, citing trends of students with multiple majors and minors. The Investment Committee heard an update on the performance of the College’s investments, while the Audit and Risk Committee reviewed the tax returns for the College and its related organizations.

The Board also decided on faculty appointments, approving tenure track appointments for Phoebe Carter ’17, Sahai Couso Diaz, Marissa Gee, Lin Li, Alexandra Oehmke, Alexander Rocklin, John Rufo and Nicholas Theis. Five professors were also approved to be promoted to associate professors: Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Krista Dalton, Assistant Professor of Spanish Diego del Río Arrillaga, Assistant Professor of American Studies and History Francis Gourrier, Assistant Professor of Art History Brad Hostetler and Assistant Professor of Biology Natalie Wright. The new associate professors were also awarded tenure. Lastly, the Board approved the promotion of Associate Professor of English Rosemary O’Neill to full professor.

Following faculty appointments and tenure, the Board reviewed degree candidates for 2024. After approving the Class of 2024 candidates for graduation, the Board approved the list of honorary degree candidates for 2024 Commencement: presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church The Most Rev. Michael Curry, as well as retiring faculty members Edmond Ennis, Claudia Esslinger and Victor Rodríquez Núñez.

As the meeting drew to a close, the Board recognized recently deceased Kenyon community members Charles “Chuck” Rice H’94, Thomas V. Lepley H’13 and Patricia N. McCulloh. The Board then appointed six new trustees. Chris Eaton ’89, Joseph E. Lipscomb ’87 P’19, Anne H. Ranson ’92, Christine Gould Sharkey ’80 and Alexander W. Wright ’05 were appointed to a six-year term as a trustee-at-large, while Una I. Fogarty ’90 was appointed alumni trustee for a four-year term. The meeting concluded with the newly revised Board of Trustees approving Maloney + Novotny LLC to serve as the external auditors for the 2023-24 fiscal year financial statement audit.

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