State of the College 2013
Skidmore College had a record year in admissions, sent 12 athletic teams to post-season competition, plans to open on schedule its replacement for Scribner Village, and is laying the groundwork for its next campaign.
President Philip A. Glotzbach at
Such were a few of the highlights that President Philip A. Glotzbach reported to alumni
in his annual state-of-the-college message during Reunion Weekend.
Noting that admissions is a "good barometer of where Skidmore stands relative to other colleges among potential applicants and their families," Glotzbach first pointed to the dramatic 45 percent increase in applications the College saw this year, hitting a record 8,300.
He attributed the increase to a variety of factors, including expanded travel by admissions staff, a major upgrade of the College's Web site, simplification of the Skidmore supplement to the Common Application, and favorable notices in various college rankings.
Applications from international students nearly doubled to 1,500. In the incoming Class of '17, nine percent are international and 21 percent are self-identified as students of color.
The number of students seeking financial aid also increased—"a trend we're going to see continue," Glotzbach said. Forty-five percent of the Class of '17 will be awarded financial aid, and the average award will be $28,500. The College's total budget for financial aid will be just over $40 million out of a total budget of $137 million.
"We meet full calculated financial need, and it really makes a difference in the strength and diversity of the class," he said.
Turning to athletics, Glotzbach noted that this spring had been especially fruitful for the Thoroughbreds, as the riding team won its seventh national championship (sharing the honor with St. Lawrence), men's golf competed in their 27th consecutive national tournament, women's tennis won their third straight Liberty League title and made the national tournament, and men's tennis made the national tournament.
Overall, 12 Skidmore teams participated in postseason competition, and the College had its first-ever All-American named in men's hockey.
Turning to facilities, Glotzbach reported that the $42 million replacement of Scribner Village—a project that had been "long overdue"—is proceeding on schedule and should be completed this fall. "When it's finished, 90 percent of our student population will reside on campus, which is just about right for a liberal arts college."
The lead funding on that project was a $12 million gift by Donald Sussman and his family. Sussman is a former trustee who continues to serve on the College's investment committee; he is the father of Emily Sussman '04. An anonymous donor gave an additional $5.5 million, and the College issued bonds to cover the rest of the cost.
The College's next major building initiative will be in the sciences, the result of a "major planning effort that has involved all nine of our physical and life science programs," Glotzbach said.
"Science has always been a key component of a liberal arts education, and an understanding of science is essential to responsible citizenship," he said. "Thee are so many public policy issues—from climate change to antibiotics in our food supply—that have to do with scientific subjects. We all need to be scientifically literate."
"We've been asking: What do our students need to learn about science, and how do we best teach them?" Glotzbach continued. "We've concluded that the most important thing we can do to advance that effort is to bring together everyone in these nine programs into a single building complex, emphasizing synergies among them and efficiencies in lab space."
To design the structure, the College has engaged Boston-based Payette, which specializes in complex building types for science and health care. While initially expressing doubts about producing an integrated plan encompassing nine departments, "the architects were saying within six weeks that they had never seen such collaboration and were coming up with new ideas about configuring labs for research and teaching," Glotzbach said.
"This will be a very expensive project, but one that is enormously important for Skidmore, building on our strength in so many areas," Glotzbach continued. Forty percent of the College's faculty reside in the nine departments to be situated in the new science complex, and one third of its students now major in one or more of these programs.
Funds for the science project and for other key priorities—including financial aid—will be raised in a major multi-year campaign now being planned, Glotzbach said. "You will be hearing more about this going forward, and we look forward to your involvement and partnership in this effort."