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ETSU at 125: Committee looks to future

May 10th, 2012 9:38 pm by Rex Barber

ETSU at 125: Committee looks to future

The vision for what East Tennessee State University should be at its 125th anniversary will begin to be formed this summer, the school’s president announced Thursday in a meeting of the school’s endowment foundation.
ETSU President Brian Noland announced the formation of the Committee for 125 during the annual ETSU Foundation meeting at The Millennium Centre.
The ETSU Committee for 125 will be led by Louis Gump, a local entrepreneur and founder of the Roan Scholars Leadership Program, a scholarship at ETSU. Other members of the committee will be former university presidents and chancellors, according to Noland.
The committee’s first meeting will be held in early June.
This committee will be charged with framing the blueprint for what ETSU will look like at its 125th anniversary in 2036. Noland said he wanted the committee to look at athletics, the diversity of academic programs, the prioritization of new facilities and how the Foundation is structured as well as the school’s alumni association.
“Essentially, that committee will look at everything across ETSU from top to bottom and say, ‘How do we need to be positioned as an institution to grab the goals that are outlined for us 25 years down the road?’ ” Noland said.
Noland said some of the goals to look at would include new buildings. Noland has said a priority for him is the creation of a fine and performing arts center for ETSU, but it will take everyone working together to make that goal a reality.
“The Foundation, our students, the state, the community all will have a role in the development of new facilities, not only on campus but across the region,” Noland said. “We’ve talked at great length this spring about the fine and performing arts center. We’ve identified the need for a convocation center, and there will be other needs that emerge throughout the year as the Committee for 125 gets about their work.”
ETSU celebrated its 100th anniversary this past October. Noland said many schools develop a long-range vision plan after milestones. In fact, ETSU developed a plan outlined in a document called Turning Toward 2011 shortly after the 75th anniversary. Noland said he was surprised to see that a fine and performing arts center was one of the top 10 needs identified in 1986.
“I guarantee you, 25 years from now that fine and performing arts center will be created,” he said.
The purpose of the meeting Thursday was to update members of the ETSU Foundation, which is now comprised of 480 individuals, of the Foundation’s finances. The Foundation now has a total worth of almost $100 million despite a poor economy for the past few years.
The Foundation’s fund balance is more than $99.2 million. Private giving this year is estimated at $11.6 million, up from $9.8 million last year. The National Association of College and University Business Officers endowment study, which ranks ETSU 410 out of 839 participating institutions, based on endowment value, reported the ETSU Foundation’s investment rate of return at 18.8 percent.
“This is an indication of the Foundation’s successful conservative investment and sound management policies,” Richard Manahan, vice president for University Advancement and Foundation CEO/president, said in a news release.
Manahan noted more than $1.8 million in scholarships were awarded to more than 900 students in 2011-12. The Foundation has provided more than $8.4 million in scholarships to more than 3,800 students in the past five years.
Noland was pleased with the strength of the ETSU Foundation. He said the goal now was to leverage that strength to take advantage of economic recovery.
“We’re not going to be able to provide the level of scholarships, the level of support, the level of endowed chairs without greater work across the institution and community as a whole, and those are some of the issues we’ll look at within the Committee for 125,” Noland said.
In other Foundation business, 2012-13 officers were elected and new members were admitted.
D. Roger Kennedy, was re-elected as chairman of the Foundation’s board of directors for 2012-13, and M. Thomas Krieger, retired business executive, as vice chairman. Both are from Jonesborough. Leslie Parks Pope, chairwoman of The Parks Group, LLC, Kingsport, is immediate past chairwoman, and Dan Mahoney, Johnson City, is secretary.
Re-elected to serve in their same positions on the board were Dr. Steve Conerly, Management Services/Strategic Planning, Johnson City, treasurer; Donald R. Raber, president, Aldebaran Financial Inc., Kingsport, chairman of the Investment Committee; Dennis T. Powell, Johnson City, chairman of the Planned Giving Advisory Committee; and Wayne G. Basler, Kingsport, representing past chairmen of the board.
The following were elected to serve a three-year term on the board ending June 30, 2015: Louis H. Gump, Lottie F. Ryans and Dr. May Votaw, Johnson City; Rick Storey, Jonesborough; and Tom Seaton, Piney Flats.
Elected to serve a second three-year term on the board ending June 30, 2015, were: Theresa K. Lee and Melissa Steagall-Jones, Johnson City; Dr. Stephen Kimbrough and James W. Reel, Jonesborough; and James Brinkley, Orange Park, Fla.
Five members who are rotating off the board after two consecutive three-year terms were recognized for their service: Guy B. Wilson Jr., Johnson City; Robert T. Summers and Gerald D. Thomas, Jonesborough; Betty DeVinney, Kingsport; and Raymond R. Thomas, Atlanta.
The Foundation welcomed 34 new members.

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