Summary of the April 2023 Board of Trustees meeting

To the Williams community,

The Board of Trustees convened for their April 2023 meeting here last week. Following is a high-level summary of the topics they covered during sessions all day Friday and Saturday morning.

  • The Board heard and discussed a presentation by Dean of Admission and Student Financial Services Liz Creighton ’01 about the current admissions landscape in light of the pending Supreme Court cases on race-conscious admission. This was the latest step in the Trustees’ ongoing preparations to support our admission program after the Court issues its decisions later this spring.
  • Associate Vice President of Finance Matt Motyka provided an annual update on the college’s enterprise risk management (ERM) work, including a framework that he and a newly convened ERM Committee are developing to identify, prioritize and address risks in the college’s work.
  • The Board received a presentation from Director of Dining Services Temesgen Araya about our dining program and his team’s short- and longer-term plans to strengthen our service and offerings.
  • During lunch, the Board’s Executive Committee met with the Faculty Steering Committee. At the same time, another group of Trustees met with a cohort of students and Clinton Williams, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The students heard from the trustees about their experiences as students and the role of those experiences in their careers. The students also talked to the Board members about their lives on campus today.

Saturday’s plenary session was devoted to routine Board business, along with a vote on the college’s FY24 budget.

  • Provost and Class of 1955 Memorial Professor of History Eiko Maruko Siniawer ’97 and Vice President for Finance and Operations and Treasurer Mike Wagner gave a detailed presentation to the Board about the FY24 budget and long-range financial models. As part of their presentation they described the hard work done by many on campus to produce this year’s budget, and the importance of ongoing financial planning. In response to a motion from the Budget and Finance Committee, the Board then voted to approve the college’s FY24 budget, which runs from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. The Board voiced their appreciation for people’s hard work and emphasized the necessity of long-term fiscal prudence.
  • The Trustees heard reports on endowment performance from Chief Investment Officer Collette Chilton; on FY23 college finances from Mike Wagner; and on fundraising results and future plans from Vice President for College Relations Megan Morey.
  • The Board voted to award an honorary degree to Dean of Faculty and John B. McCoy and John T. McCoy Professor of Psychology Safa Zaki, who will leave Williams to become the 16th president of Bowdoin College starting July 1, 2023.

During their visit, Board members also hosted two sets of dinners: one with members of the Admissions and Student Financial Services team on Thursday night, and another on Friday with a group of directors and managers from across the college staff.

After the meeting’s conclusion on Saturday, Trustee Jeff Harleston ’82 and Board Chair Liz Robinson ’90 co-hosted an open student forum in Goodrich, attended by several Trustees. The Board values these chances to learn about the Williams experience from the perspective of today’s students, and is grateful to everyone who participated.

The Board is looking forward to returning in early June for their final meeting of the academic year, and to attend Commencement and celebrate with our community.