The Eminent Eighteen

Fellow Oliners,

The Student Government Restructuring last spring strove to make CORe more transparent and improve our communication with the administration. This fall, we’re hoping to give Oliners a better understanding of how the administration operates, so in this edition of Frankly Speaking, we’re going to pull back the curtain on the Board of Trustees.

Have you ever wondered who President Miller reports to? You guessed it – the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is the highest governing body at Olin College and is comprised of eighteen dedicated individuals who care deeply about Olin’s mission. Two of the eighteen trustees are Olin alumni who are elected and rotate out every few years. Two other trustees, namely Mr. William Norden and Mr. Lawrence Milas, were trustees of the Olin Foundation before it dissolved to create Olin College. The trustees’ backgrounds range from being investment managers to lawyers to experts in STEM fields.

The Board meets three to four times a year where they address the most important business of the College – once in February, May, August (as needed), and October. In order for the Board to function effectively, the trustees established seven committees to handle various aspects of the College’s operation. Faculty, staff, and (in certain committees) students are often present during meetings of these committees to give presentations and keep the Board informed, but only the trustees actually vote. Five committees handle particularly confidential issues and do not have any student representation present at their meetings.

The Executive Committee works closely with the President throughout the year and will act for the full Board on certain time-sensitive matters that may come up between Board meetings.
Unlike what you might think, the Governance Committee doesn’t actually govern the college but rather considers how the Board itself should be governed. Trustees on this committee discuss the By-Laws of the Board and the candidacy of possible new trustees.
The Audit Committee oversees financial audits of the College and makes sure that we are keeping ourselves honest. This Committee also has oversight of all risk management activities at the College.
In cooperation with the Development Department of the college’s administration, the Development Committee works to identify and cultivate major donors to the College.
The Investment Committee manages how Olin invests the endowment.

However, student representatives sit in on meetings of the two committees which handle issues most relevant to students.

The Finance and Facilities Committee reviews and approves the budget for each fiscal year and performs financial monitoring for the College. They approve new faculty and staff positions and discuss our long term financial sustainability. Directly impacting students, they review Olin’s tuition and fees as well as current, future, and long term facilities projects. This committee also considers the viability of returning the full tuition scholarship. Logan Sweet, CORe Vice President for Finance, serves as our student representative on this committee.
The Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee approves faculty promotions and appointments and spends much of their meetings receiving updates and discussing academic life issues including faculty activities, admission, post-graduate planning, and student life. At their most recent meeting in May, the trustees expressed their excitement that Emily Roper-Doten re-joined Olin in May as our new Dean of Admissions. On a related approval and promotion note, they also awarded Emeritus status to founding Provost, David Kerns, and founding VP for Innovation and Research, Sherra Kerns. They follow new curricular innovation closely and were excited to see new sponsors for the SCOPE program –particularly Indico, Limbs International, and SpaceX. The committee’s concerns lately largely center around strengthening Olin’s faculty and considering the expectations for external arrangements between Olin and its partners. Ian Hill, CORe President, serves as our student representative on this committee.

We hope this article sheds some light onto the operations of the Board of Trustees. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.

Respectfully yours,
Ian Hill and Logan Sweet
CORe President and Vice President for Finance

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