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Fall 2018 Board of Trustees Meeting Report

October 22, 2018

Dear Campus Community:

The October Board of Trustees meeting was a wonderful welcome back to campus, with autumn in the air and the fall semester in full swing. The trustees spent three rewarding days on the Gallaudet campus engaged with various campus constituencies and left with a great deal of knowledge on the University’s progress toward Priority Three and Priority Four of its 2017-2020 Short-term Strategic Plan.

The Board saw firsthand Gallaudet’s commitment to innovation. They received a preview of ASL Connect and were impressed by the breadth of the work of the ASL Connect team. We are excited to see what this new capacity for enrollment and revenue brings to Gallaudet. The Board then had the opportunity to visit the Tinkerlab in Washburn Arts Building and receive hands-on demonstrations with students. We also learned about the Clerc Center’s upcoming Thinkabit studio.

Committee on Academic Affairs and Ad Hoc Committee on Enrollment: This combined committee meeting focused on “Shared Governance.” The committee reviewed the Fall 2018 enrollment report and the Undergraduate Admissions highlights and was pleased to see an increase in students of color in the Fall 2018 cohort. The committee approved faculty governance changes to the severe sanctions section of the Faculty Handbook with regard to Title IX cases. Finally, the Faculty, Administration, and Board (FAB) Committee reconvened after two years and discussed a strategy for moving forward.

Committee on Audit: The Board reviewed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 External Audit Plan with consulting firm Grant Thornton and received an update on the Whistleblower Program, which is entering its tenth year. In 2018 there were 22 complaints. The Board is pleased to learn that anonymous complaints have decreased from 90 percent in 2014 to 50 percent in 2018, which suggests increased confidence against retaliation.

Committee on Budget and Operations: The Board learned the year-end results for FY 2018, which revealed that Gallaudet’s rating has been reaffirmed as A+ by Standard & Poor’s. Ms. Lisa Clarke, a consultant with rpk GROUP, presented on the FY 2019 budget and, with the upcoming retirement of Vice President Paul Kelly, was approved as interim University Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.

Committee on Development: The committee learned that FY 2018 fundraising totaled $6.4 million and saw 78 percent alumni participation. The committee also reviewed the recently launched "Why I Give" promotion of payroll giving as a convenient method for employees who want to support Gallaudet.

Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Committee on Student Affairs: The Board held a combined meeting with the topic of “Living, Well-Being, and Belonging” and learned from nine staff presenters how cross-divisional collaborations are transforming Gallaudet. The Board saw freshman Vincent Alvarez demonstrate the Education Advisory Board Guide app in action, received highlights on August’s Cross-Cultural Conversations event, learned about the latest work by the persona non grata panel, and received updates on identifying and developing community hubs on campus. The Board understands that designing space intentionally to bring faculty, staff, and students together is critical to the Gallaudet experience because it creates opportunities to interact and learn from one other so the Board concluded the meeting with small-group tours of newly renovated spaces on campus.

Committee on Investment: Goldman Sachs representatives presented an update on our portfolio and performance monitoring. Our portfolio market value as of August 2018 was $182,411,212. Mr. Sam Swiller provided an analysis of real estate opportunities local to Kendall Green and the Board passed a motion to invest $5 million in the Foundation to acquire off-campus property to serve as housing for students, faculty, and staff.

Committee on Trustees: The Board held elections and is pleased to announce its officers for 2018-2019: Seth Bravin, ’95, Chair; Claire Bugen, Vice Chair; Duane Halliburton, ’85, Secretary; and members-at-large Gregory Hlibok, Esq., ’89, and Jeffrey Humber, Esq.

The Board also passed a resolution to honor Vice President Paul Kelly for his 38 years of service to Gallaudet, including more than 30 years as Board treasurer, and presented outgoing Dean of Student Affairs Dwight Benedict, ’80, with a Gallaudet-branded ski cap. We wish both Paul and Dwight the very best in their retirement.

On a personal note, this is my final meeting as acting chair. It has been a privilege, and I look forward to supporting Mr. Bravin in his new leadership role and to returning to my role as Vice Chair. Most of all, I look forward to returning to campus in February, when the Board will meet with “Bilingual Mission” as its learning theme.

With Homecoming approaching, we have only one thing to say … Go Bison!


Claire Bugen
Outgoing Acting Chair

Posted by Andrew Greenman | Posted October 22, 2018 at 12:02 PM


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002