With a university president officially installed and an exciting couple of weeks behind them, the Lincoln University Board of Curators hosted its first meeting of 2022 beaming with hope.
The Board of Curators hosted a lengthy meeting Thursday morning and into the afternoon, taking a break around 11 a.m. to enjoy Founders' Day festivities. The board, which last convened in November, selected new officers and approved an equipment purchase, among other actions.
A bulk of the meeting consisted of the board hearing from several campus departments, a majority of which reported a renewed sense of involvement and optimism.
"With staff, the overall engagement is increasing," said Edgar Castro-Corona, chair of the LU Staff Council and the recently named director of financial aid. "I feel that everyone is really more positive. Everyone feels that we're being heard."
Matthew McGraw, chairman of the LU Faculty Senate, had a similar report on university faculty.
McGraw said some members of the university administration attended the Faculty Senate meeting last month to hear from faculty and address any concerns they had about a new academic initiative on campus.
"I'm still gathering questions from faculty because this is a change and there have been some expressions of anxiety, but I would just like to express my appreciation to the administration for being open to talking with us about the process and hearing information so that we do feel as if we have some sense of what the future will hold for us," McGraw said. "It was an act of open communication I think we all appreciated."
It was the first Board of Governors meeting with University President John Moseley no longer serving as an interim.
Moseley said Lincoln faculty, staff and students are just as committed to moving the university forward as he is, which will be critical as the university looks to grow into the future.
"I feel like the nine months or eight months as the interim president gave me an opportunity as a leader to prove my value and my commitment to our faculty, staff and students," he said. "And I feel that that's been reciprocated."
Board of Curators President Victor Pasley said congratulated Moseley on his selection and said the community response to the decision has been overwhelmingly positive.
Pasley said he attended an event with Moseley earlier in the month and reactions to the new president's remarks were a testament to his support.
"It was quite an event," Pasley said. "They gave him a round of applause really celebrating his comments that he made. It was an excellent program, but also it was just the way he was received by the community at the event that was noteworthy."
The renewed spirit on campus has also brought in more donations to the university, said Kevin Wilson, vice president of advancement, athletics and campus recreation.
Giving has increased 25 percent from last year, Wilson said, and the university has received more than $385,000 in donations. By contrast, Lincoln received $216,000 in donations in fiscal year 2021 and $308,000 in fiscal year 2020.
"This is a testament to the hard work that we're trying to do in terms of trying to connect with folks that really care about this institution and really want to move it more in the right direction," Wilson said.
Wilson said he's also had some productive conversations with the 62nd and 65th Regiments Legacy Foundation and will begin including its leaders in monthly advancement development meetings this month.
Pasley said he's also looking forward to Moseley and Curator Richard Popp joining the board of the 62nd and 65th Regiments Legacy Foundation as non-voting members. Popp and Moseley have ex-officio seats on the board, according to the most recent memorandum of understanding between the university and the foundation.
Additionally, the Board of Curators approved a new memorandum of understanding with the Blue Tiger Athletic Club Foundation on Thursday. The new contract clears up confusion around use of logos and provides university employees to assist with Blue Tiger Athletic Club functions, which is new.
The board also approved the slate of officers put forth by the nominating committee last month. Pasley remains board president and Curator Richard Popp as treasurer, while Curator Richard Callahan became vice president and Curator Everidge Cade became secretary.
The selection process drew criticism from Curators Vernon Bracy and Frank Logan, who said they were under the impression board presidents would serve for one year before transitioning out, and they weren't consulted about serving as officers. Bracy, who was the previous vice president of the board, was not nominated for an officer position or included in a slate considered by the nominating committee.
The other curators said they didn't recall any discussions about presidents only being allowed to serve one consecutive term, and members not on the nominating committee haven't been consulted about officer selections in the past.
Ultimately, no other nominations for board officers were made, and the slate was approved.
Shortly after the slate of officers was approved, Pasley told Moseley he wants him to identify a couple students to potentially join the board as student representatives, which Lincoln has lacked for several years. The governor's office would have to approve the nominations, Pasley said.
He said he also wants the board to start live-streaming its meetings again, as it did at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pasley said it increases transparency for the university and he appreciated the feedback and exposure that live-streaming provided.