Everyone should see this welcome email sent by Chancellor Victor Boschini this week:
Welcome back for spring semester! I hope the transition to a new semester this week has been an easy one.
Keeping you informed is important to me, so I would like to update you in four areas especially critical to the University’s success: admission for the fall 2009 freshman class, the state of the endowment, progress on The Campaign for TCU, and the budget for 2009-2010.
In recent years, we have experienced record growth in the number of applications for admission. From these, we have fielded outstanding freshmen classes. Early indicators point to another fine class for fall 2009. Completed applications for the fall freshman class exceed those at this time last year by 7 percent.
In spite of recent market volatility, TCU’s endowment remains strong at about $1 billion. While the endowment has lost some of its value, the payout, which supports the operating budget, will remain steady in the near term. The Board of Trustees Investment Committee and our Chief Investment Officer Jim Hille deserve much credit for their careful management of this vital resource.
The $250 million Campaign for TCU has raised more than $188.6 million so that we can realize our vision of creating a world-class, values-centered university experience for our students. Phenomenally, we have raised 75 percent of the campaign goal in 50 percent of the campaign time. We have not lowered our expectations that the campaign will exceed its goal, though it may take longer than we earlier anticipated. Currently, the top campaign priority is scholarships, and we continue to raise funds for endowed positions, academic programs, faculty support and other needs.
Along with taking measures to ensure that endowment funding would be stable in upcoming fiscal years, providing resources for planned capital renovations and proposing a lower tuition increase than in prior years, we have worked together to make modest reductions of approximately $1.9 million in next year’s budget. This compares to our total operating budget of approximately $362 million. At the same time, we are still emphasizing our overriding objective of maintaining the quality of the TCU experience and the vital 14:1 student/faculty ratio. Because of tremendous investments in the University in recent years, we are confident that TCU is competitive with our peers and attractive to prospective students and their families.
Last semester, TCU graduated more than 800 students. Reflecting our global mission, they represented 28 states and 29 foreign countries.
Construction on Scharbauer Hall, which will be home to AddRan College and the new John V. Roach Honors College, is on track to open for the spring 2010 semester. The building will be registered for LEED certification, a benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green practices. In addition to employing four LEED-certified engineers and architects, TCU is addressing sustainability issues in scores of ways.
Here's to a great semester.