Spring 2020 Board Meeting Summary

The Bates Board of Trustees held its spring meeting virtually on Friday, May 1, 2020, after most standing committees of the Board met virtually throughout April to conduct their work. The ongoing global COVID-19 health crisis—and its impact on the Bates community—were the primary focus of the May 1 meeting, as Trustees continued the discussions begun earlier in the spring about the implications of the pandemic for the college. President Spencer provided an update to the Board on the college’s response to COVID-19, including the ongoing work of the two faculty-staff teams focused on fall planning and finances, and outlined communications efforts to keep stakeholders updated on key developments. Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Geoff Swift provided additional details about the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the college and the planning that is underway to ensure effective preparation for multiple contingencies. The Trustees expressed strong support for the enterprise-wide measures being taken to position the college during this extraordinary period of time and appreciation for the adaptability, tenacity, and creativity with which Bates faculty and staff have pursued their work since the college moved to remote learning in March.

The Board also heard the annual report from the Alumni Council, which was presented by Council president Larry Handerhan ’05 and vice president Jen Crawford ’01. Additionally, Professor of Biology Don Dearborn, chair of the coordinating team for Bates’ 2020 reaccreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), presented an update on the progress and emerging themes of the college’s self-study and outlined the steps leading to the scheduled November visit from the NECHE-appointed evaluation team.

Trustees also heard updates on the Bates Campaign, the endowment, the Class of 2024, and college infrastructure initiatives.

Trustees took a number of important annual actions, including:

  • Voting of degrees for the Class of 2020, conditional on their completing all requirements of the degree and being voted by the Faculty
  • Approving the FY21 budget
  • Approving academic personnel appointments and reappointments
  • Re-electing three Trustees:
    • Andrea Bueschel ’90
    • Garth A.L. Timoll ’99
    • Jean P. Wilson ’81, P’05, P’13
  • Electing officers of the corporation
  • Formally acknowledging the service of Trustees retiring on June 30:
    • William Carey ’82, P’13, P’14, P’19
    • Geri FitzGerald ’75
    • Kitty Friedman ’95, P’24
    • John Murchison ’88
    • Carol Rattray P’11
    • Quoc Tran ’95

The annual spring meeting between the Committee on Faculty Governance and Board leadership took place virtually. We regret that the virtual format of the spring meeting prevented further in-person engagement between Trustees and members of the campus community, and look forward to resuming that important component of Board meetings when on-campus meetings are able to resume. The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for October 29–31, 2020.

Clayton Spencer

John Gillespie ’80, P’13, P’18
Chair of the Board of Trustees