Facing a less dire financial situation, the University's highest governing body will meet this weekend to begin planning for the next phase of capital projects and initiate discussions on opening new revenue streams to support academic priorities.
Members of the Corporation will also participate in a formal dedication ceremony for the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center and attend an event marking the launch of the renovations to the Metcalf Chemistry and Research Laboratory.
Discussions on the next phase of capital projects will likely center on long-term housing improvements, including possible construction of new residence halls and renovations to existing dormitories, said Russell Carey '91 MA'06, senior vice president for Corporation affairs and governance.
During last year's meetings, the Corporation — which convenes yearly in October, February and May — focused on ways to reduce the budget deficit after the endowment lost $740 million as a result of the economic downturn in fiscal year 2009.
But this year's initial meeting will occur under more favorable conditions — the University has entered its final phase of closing the $95 million budget gap caused by the hit to the endowment and is looking toward new revenue sources to support future initiatives.
The Corporation will also open talks on future fundraising plans as the University nears the Dec. 31 end of the Campaign for Academic Enrichment, which has raised more than $1.5 billion since it began in 2002.
Despite the positive outlook, Carey said the Corporation is not likely to make any major decisions over the weekend. Instead, the members will address pragmatic goals, including improvement of the overall quality and condition of campus buildings and support of academic priorities. They will also formally accept gifts to the University and hear updates on capital projects already under way, such as the Medical Education Building and the Metcalf renovations. The governing body will set the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, at its February meeting.
"In general, it's a pretty standard October schedule," Carey said, adding that the fall summit is "not a meeting where there are a lot of decisions to be made."
Members of the Corporation will hold committee meetings Thursday and Friday before convening as a group — including members emeriti, trustees and fellows — Friday afternoon for a strategic discussion session. The body will meet Saturday to hear formal reports from the individual committees, including the Committee on Facilities and Design and the Committee on Budget and Finance.
In addition to long-term housing projects, the committees will also discuss potential sources for increasing revenue to support programs that may include new academic programs, Carey said. The Corporation will also address the recently announced extended partnership between the Alpert Medical School and Lifespan hospitals.
Members will also hear about the final phase of the campaign from Steven King '91, who replaced Ronald Vanden Dorpel MA'71 as senior vice president for University advancement July 1, Carey said. As the campaign winds down, the Corporation will begin planning the next fundraising steps, he added. "There's a lot of thought in terms of making that transition," Carey said.
The Corporation will also attend a dedication ceremony for the new campus center Friday at 5:30 p.m. The event, which is open to the public and will culminate with a dinner for Corporation members, will feature student performances and addresses from Chancellor Thomas Tisch '76, President Ruth Simmons, former Chancellor Stephen Robert '62 and three representatives from student government, including Undergraduate Council of Students President Diane Mokoro '11.
Members of the governing body will participate in a smaller event Saturday on Lincoln Field to acknowledge the Metcalf renovations.
"There's not a lot of specific news," said Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn. "Probably the biggest thing is the events."