DANVILLE, Ky. — The Centre College Board of Trustees gathered virtually for the fourth time due to COVID-19, holding its spring committee meetings the week of April 5 and concluding with a meeting of the full board on Friday, April 9.
Key among the actions taken by the trustees was approval of a new 135,000-s.f. facility devoted to wellness and athletic excellence that is sure to set a new standard for holistic and co-curricular education among the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts colleges.
“This significant investment will strengthen our earned reputation as one of the nation’s foremost colleges focused on leadership development and career readiness,” Centre President Milton Moreland told trustees.
“The Initiative for Wellness and Athletic Excellence represents a transformational moment for Centre College and will have a profound impact on our ability to offer a deeply holistic academic experience, elevating our mission and ensuring that Centre provides an exceptional academic and social experience,” Moreland said.
Brad Fields, Centre’s director of athletics and recreation, also emphasized how the new facilities will serve the broader community by welcoming thousands of visitors annually through expanded summer camp offerings and by acting as host for scholastic track and swimming competitions throughout the state and region.
“The profound impact of this project cannot be overstated,” he said. “It will transform lives and enhance experiences for our students, our campus community and the surrounding areas in ways yet unimagined and for generations to come.”
The new building and several related projects will total $50 million. Two lead gifts received already equal 70% of that amount. A groundbreaking is planned for October.
This project, along with other recent construction projects totaling $30 million, represent the College’s investment in facilities and programs that will enhance student success, continue the tradition of leadership development and prepare graduates for outstanding careers.
Trustees also heard updates on the college’s strategic planning process, along with reports on current recruitment outcomes and continuing efforts to address challenges associated with the global pandemic.
In addition to the significant investments the college is making in capital and programmatic improvements, the ongoing strategic planning process is focused on attracting and retaining talented students, faculty and staff. Trustees heard about progress on campus-wide efforts to gather “big ideas” focused around five meta-principles and seven pillars. In addition, consultants from the Art & Science Group reported on their work to assist Centre with understanding its market position in the increasingly competitive landscape of higher education.
Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Bob Nesmith provided an update on positive recruitment efforts this year as he and his staff anticipate the national candidate’s reply date of May 1 for admitted students to respond to colleges. Buoyed by the highest number of applications over the past five years, he reported that new student commitments have progressed toward goal faster than any previous year.
Trustees also learned that efforts to maintain positive health and safety outcomes in the face of the global pandemic have been successful thanks in part to a rigorous approach to surveillance testing that has limited positive cases among students during the spring semester to just 39, for a current positivity rate of 0.43%. It was also reported that many students, faculty and staff have been fully vaccinated or at least received the first vaccine dose. A third campus distribution event of the Pfizer vaccine on April 23 will increase these numbers.