The College’s first Board of Regents meeting for the 2021-22 academic year was held over Zoom on October 14th and 15th. As the Student Observer to the Board, I had the opportunity to sit in on most of their meetings, scribbling notes and offering my input. For additional reading, please see the Faculty Observer’s report, linked here.
The first meeting I attended included reports about the current status of St. Olaf from President David Anderson ‘74 (PDA) and the President’s Leadership Team (PLT). Both parties reported that the College was generally doing well financially and receiving enough student applications. The size of the Class of 2025 is ideal, and applications are on track for the Class of 2026.
However, the reports noted that the University of Minnesota was “a threat” to the College. They also stressed the importance of visits when attempting to attract students, noting that the yield rate for potential students who had visited the College was substantially higher than those who had not. Additionally, the Board heard about the College’s effort to attract more Davis UWC Scholars, particularly as the Davis Foundation recently increased the amount of financial aid the College receives on behalf of these students. The President’s report concluded by discussing the current COVID status on campus and by describing the efforts to increase diversity among the contractors working on the Ole Avenue project.
Members of the PLT spoke in greater detail about the Ole Avenue project and reported that the project was still on schedule and within budget, despite construction material shortages across the nation. They also spoke about plans for the new President’s House, a residence to serve both as the private home of the College President and as a space to entertain College VIPs.
The President’s house, with a budget of $5 million, will be one of the few “wet” venues on campus, offering a private bar and catering entrance, with an anticipated dining capacity of 24. One Regent expressed concern about ensuring both of these construction projects included DBEs. According to the US Department of Transportation,“DBEs are for-profit small business concerns where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals o