End of School Year Update

June 1, 2012

Dear Willamette Community,

As the 2011-12 academic year comes to a close, I wanted to update you on a few items of common interest:
The fiscal year ended with a modest positive budget balance, thanks to the larger-than-usual first-year class at CLA and prudent management of our resources.  I am pleased to report that CLA met its enrollment targets and anticipates welcoming a class of 540 first-year students and 30 transfer students. I wanted to express my appreciation to the Office of Admissions at CLA and Jim Sumner, Interim Vice President for Enrollment, for this positive outcome, and also let you know that Jim has agreed to stay on in an interim capacity until a permanent successor is named. Campus Life, Residential Services and the CLA Dean's Office have undertaken to register new students for classes and housing, hopefully minimizing "summer melt" -- the small percentage of incoming students who withdraw for various reasons.
The timing of admissions and enrollment cycles at Willamette's three graduate professional schools are a little different than CLA's, but I can report that, nationally, applications to graduate programs in law, management and teaching have decreased significantly in the past couple of years, and while numbers of applications to our programs are lower than they have been in the past, enrollments are steady or slightly down.  That said, the academic profile of the applicants is comparable to what we have had in prior years, and we are reasonably optimistic that we will be able to enroll class sizes sufficient to meet our revenue targets.

In fundraising, we exceeded the goal for this fiscal year by more than seven percent, with a preliminary total of $10,746,266, of which $1,300,266 is annual fund support. Many thanks to the staff in Development & Alumni Relations, as well as our many faculty and staff donors, for this positive result.
The search for a permanent Vice President for Advancement (the position previously known as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations) is underway, and initial interviews will occur later this month. The search committee is broadly representative and, with the assistance of Susan VanGilder of Storbeck/Pimentel, is on track to conclude in late summer.
Having received strategic planning documents from CLA, Law, AGSM and GSE, I will be working over the summer on consolidating them into a comprehensive plan that will be presented to the Board of Trustees in October.  I appreciate the work that went into these plans, which will help us envision a way forward that is principled and disciplined.  
Thank you all for supporting my transition to the Willamette presidency.  This past year of listening, learning and getting acquainted and re-acquainted affirmed my impression that Willamette is a close-knit community of individuals deeply devoted to excellence in the pursuit of knowledge. I am quite satisfied that my decision to come here was a good one, and look forward to working together towards a shared vision for Willamette.

President ThorsettPresident Thorsett