Cal U leadership group meets for the final time in 2018.
At its final meeting of 2018, Cal U’s Council of Trustees greeted a new member and received welcome news from auditors.
Chairwoman Annette Ganassi introduced Stephen M. DeFrank ’92, who was nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf and approved by the state Senate.
DeFrank, who earned a degree in political science at Cal U, is a senior adviser on government relations and public policy for the Harrisburg office of Buchanan Ingersol and Rooney PC. The former state Senate staffer will serve a six-year term.
Trustees also heard a report by CPA Jared Clark, an auditor with the CliftonLarsonAllen accounting firm. The auditors annually examine the University’s budgeting process and financial controls, scrutinizing the way revenue and expenses are handled and recorded.
“We found no material weaknesses in your internal controls,” Clark said. “You have a really good finance and accounting team, and we appreciate all their hard work.”
This is the sixth time that CliftonLarsonAllen, one of the nation’s top 10 accounting firms, has conducted the University’s annual financial audit.
In her report to the trustees, University President Geraldine M. Jones described the campus-wide response to the attack at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Heeding her call to stand together as a caring and inclusive community, faculty and staff organized a vigil and other activities. More than 150 people attending, including many students.
“Standing together helped our campus family support and console one another, and it has sparked conversation about future events designed to counter hatred and affirm our common humanity,” she said. “In these challenging times, this is a topic we cannot ignore.”
President Jones also reported on Winter Commencement, State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein’s visit, Vulcan Fest Homecoming Weekend, and the upcoming dedication of the Rutledge Institute preschool facility.
In addition, she reported that from July 1 to Nov. 19, Cal U employees collectively received $1.1 million dollars from 18 grant awards to fund service projects, conduct research and support instruction.
In other business:
- Dr. Bruce Barnhart, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, reported on the growing popularity of Cal U’s five-week Winter College. As of the Dec. 6 meeting date, 1,263 students had enrolled. The University plans to offer 35 undergraduate and 43 graduate courses, entirely online, during the five-week session that begins Dec. 17.
The provost also congratulated the Department of Business and Economics, where 15 undergraduate and graduate programs received initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
- After a quarterly update that once again projected a balanced budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Robert Thorn, vice president for Administration and Finance, reported on the University’s capital projects.
He praised Cal U workers for completing renovations at Morgan Hall, where the Rutledge Institute preschool will be housed. The Coover Hall renovation and expansion project is 83 percent complete, he said, and the building should be ready for Fall 2019 classes.
However, incessant rains have delayed work at Lilley Field, home of Cal U softball. Renovations there may be completed by late April.
Thorn added that the final revision of the Campus Master Plan will be revealed during the spring semester. Planners anticipate reducing the overall footprint of campus buildings by about 120,000 square feet and converting nearly a dozen buildings to more efficient heating systems.
- Larry Sebek, associate vice president for Student Affairs, teamed up with Melissa Dunn, director of Student Activities, Programming and Leadership, to report on students’ community relations and outreach efforts.
One popular event was the fourth annual Holly Day, which brought between 400 and 500 people to campus on Dec. 2. Holly Day is organized by the California Recreation Authority; the University provides space in the Natali Student Center, and students perform for the families and assist with holiday-themed activities.
“We continue to work very hard to integrate our students with the California community, and vice versa,” Dunn said.
- Christine Kindl, vice president for Communications and Marketing, showed the trustees two 30-second television spots that are airing now as part of the Build You marketing campaign.
Featuring Cal U students and faculty, the ads have appeared in the Pittsburgh region on NBC shows such as “Sunday Night Football” and “This Is Us,” and on cable networks popular with prospective students and their families. After a holiday hiatus, they will return to the airwaves in January and February.
“These spots are focused on recruitment,” Kindl said. “We want to show the broad range of academic programs available at Cal U, as well as the energy and excitement of student life.”
The Build You campaign also will be visible at area malls during the busy shopping season, with placements at the Mall at Robinson, Westmoreland Mall, South Hills Village and Ross Park Mall.
- Tony Mauro, vice president for University Development and Alumni Relations, reported that since September the University has received more than $200,000 for student scholarships from various foundations, corporations, gifts and estates.
The inaugural Cal U Athletics Day of Giving raised more than $16,000 for athletic scholarships, he said.
Mauro also reviewed recent alumni events and informed the trustees of upcoming activities, notably a “signature” fundraising gala set for June 29 at the Convocation Center.
California’s Council of Trustees is scheduled to meet again March 6.