FROM: Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
DATE: May 15, 2018
SUBJECT: May 11 Board Meeting
Unity College Community,
What an amazing time at Unity College! Beautiful weather for Commencement and the last week of school. Thanks to everyone who put so much into the Student Conference, finals week, student activities, Commencement, this week’s professional development sessions, and everything else you did as a community to finish the year strong in service to our students and our mission.
With all the activity, you may not even know that we had a Board of Trustees meeting held here on campus on Friday. Thanks to Kathleen Dunckel for sharing her report with faculty; I’m writing to add some highlights for folks who don’t get the faculty emails.
The day started off with David Maxwell, President Emeritus from Drake University and representative of the Association of Governing Boards. He was here on behalf of AGB to present the board with the Nason Award which “recognizes and honors boards who are exemplars of innovation, creativity, and exceptional leadership.” Among other things, David shared that “The scope of change that Unity College undertook is truly impressive and unusual,” and that “We commend you for unflinchingly reimagining Unity.”
After that, and until dinner at the Unity House, it was pretty much all work – except for a nice break to hear student presentations from some of this semester’s Student Conference winners including Joseph Cyr; Mark Moody; Jacob Beaudette, Dakota Quenneville, and Scott Geissler: and Laurel Sullivan. Our board always loves engaging with students.
As for work, the board approved both undergraduate and graduate students, and took action on some other important items. A presentation by outgoing Chief Student Success Officer, Sarah Cunningham, didn’t require action, but did require some deep thinking. Sarah presented her thoughts on the implications of the ongoing F2Yproject on our work and lives at Unity College.
After a presentation on the strategic plan status – actually, the very one you all saw today – the board endorsed a motion “To enthusiastically approve the successful stewardship of Building a Beacon: The Unity College Strategic Plan 2014-2019; and, based on information from the Deep Dive and on the current higher education landscape, to ask the Unity College President to prepare an approach, process, and timeline for Board consideration to establish a new strategic plan that builds on the current trajectory for Unity College that is mission-driven and that ensures long-term financial viability.”
Other action included a motion to add a new board member, Mr. Michael Fortier of Portland, Maine. Michael has an interesting history. Having grown up in Winslow, Maine, he lived abroad as a director for J.P. Morgan and now has opened Venn + Maker in Portland. “We are looking to unite the young group of entrepreneurs moving to Maine with local makers,” said Fortier in a 2016 Bangor Daily News article. Lucky for us, Michael shares our sustainability and entrepreneurship values and has agreed to join the board.
Also, as I mentioned at professional development, as we moved forward on acquisition of the property at 54 York in Portland Maine as a signature educational restoration project as part of general concept approval of Strategic Investment 3. Other elements of the investment initiative include human, technology, and operational buildout in support of the enterprise model for Unity College (As I mentioned in my presentation today, we will discuss more in the summer and the fall. In connection with support for this Strategic Investment 3, the board and I agreed that I commitment to stay on as Unity College President until at least 2025 in order to see the project through to its conclusion. I proudly agreed.
Finally, the board continued the innovative approach that garnered the Nason Award with a proposal reimagine the structure, approach, and meetings of the board to make it more able to respond to the changing times in higher education. A full proposal will be considered at an upcoming board meeting.
As always, my time with the board and my time with you all during our season of celebration and reflection has once again left me one proud and humble president. Thank you for your continuing support. I promise you, as I promised the board on Friday, and our graduates on Saturday: That I will not rest until this important college, and its mission, has earned the place it deserves and has secured its future for good.
So I leave you with the words I sent to the faculty, student and staff who were with me at the Board Meeting: As I reflected on a long day today, I want to thank you for your time, your good work, and your contributions; Our industry is truly in uncharted waters, and to have you all willing to roll up your sleeves and engage in earnest, is the main reason I agreed to commit to staying! I love this college, I love the students, and we owe it to them, the town of Unity, and our environmental mission, to transform this college so that it can stand the test of time.
See you tomorrow,
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
“Skill can be taught; loyalty can be garnered, confidence can be instilled; but attitude & integrity are inherent! So teach skill, garner loyalty; instill confidence; but never compromise on attitude & integrity.
“Integrity, by its very existence, rekindles the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; as a cynical community is a corrupt community.” John Gardner