Simmons to faculty: U. financially stable

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The University remains financially stable despite the current economic downturn, President Ruth Simmons told the faculty in their monthly meeting yesterday.

Because the University plans a detailed budget with sufficient “lead time” before big projects, it is able to avoid the economic problems that currently plague many businesses and has not had to change its plans for its biggest projects, Simmons said. But, she added, if the economy does not improve, “we are bound to see results.”

Economic uncertainties have led to a smaller increase in net faculty size for fall of 2009, Simmons said. She added that the University is making a point of “sticking to budgets” this year.

Despite economic problems, fundraising remains strong. The Plan for Academic Enrichment, a comprehensive statement of the University’s goals with an accompanying capital campaign, reached $1.24 billion on June 30 of this year, putting it on track to reach the $1.4 billion goal ahead of the original end date of 2010. Last year the University received $139 million in new gifts and pledges and $178 million in cash gifts, the second-highest total in the University’s history.

At the faculty meeting, Simmons also addressed the recently released U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges 2009” rankings. Brown was ranked 16th among national universities, between Johns Hopkins and Rice universities. The rankings “show us how much more work needs to be done … and how hard it is to remain competitive in this environment,” Simmons said.