Board of trustees supports tuition hike, unveils donor portraits

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 DePauw University’s board of trustees returned to campus last week, approving an increase in tuition costs for next year.

The board met on campus in the days preceding Mark McCoy’s inauguration as DePauw’s 20th president.

Marshall Reavis ‘84, chairman of the board of trustees, said a tuition increase was a major topic at the meetings. Reavis said to expect a “slight increase, but far below what we have been increasing in prior years.”

McCoy said the tuition hike is aimed at maintaining the overall DePauw experience.

“We are not interested in making money,” said McCoy, “that is not our goal, our goal is to provide a life changing education here for every student. It’s important to understand that even if a student paid the full standard price, they would not pay the full cost of this education.”

McCoy claimed that liberal arts education is often more expensive than other forms because the accumulation of resources is too expensive to provide easily.

“I often say that a research institution was invented by an economist, and a small liberal arts college was invented by an artist, because this is the best educational model in the world, but a really bad business model,” McCoy said. “In order to cover the full cost we’d have to raise tuition  something like $35,000.”

During their fall meeting, the board of trustees also focused on DePauw’s branding, budget, as well as the inauguration and unveiling of portraits. “This board meeting has been particularly interesting because it has been such a great moment of celebration for DePauw,” McCoy said.

The board of trustees met with a consultant to talk about DePauw’s image. “Which was a really fun event, different than anything we had ever done,” Reavis said. “It’s a fresh way to look at DePauw.”

The board’s main concern is that high school students are not always aware of DePauw’s presence throughout the world. “Sometimes we don’t tell our story too well, sometimes we’re a bit timid,” Reavis said. “We need 620 or so kids each year, so we need to tell our story better.”

Students and faculty will be asked for their input into how they feel DePauw is truly like. “What we’re trying to do is find the authentic DePauw,” McCoy said. “We are incredibly proud of DePauw and we need to look at the impact that DePauw graduates have had on the world.”

This effort is mostly aimed at high schoolers considering applying to DePauw. “I think part of the goal is to differentiate DePauw and cut out the clutter,” said Director of Media Relations, Ken Owen ’82.

DePauw’s budget was also a topic during the gathering. “The sad fact is that in America today every year usually between three or five colleges goes under, and the reason why is the price doesn’t cover the cost, and no one will pay the price,”  McCoy said, “So we are constantly adjusting the budget.”

According to McCoy, there have been many efforts to cut down on University spending. Some of these efforts have been not hiring a vice president for marketing and communications, deferring maintenance, and taking more time to hire faculty replacements.

The board also oversaw the unveiling of three portraits of major donors on Thursday. The commemorated donors were Judson C. and Joyce Green, David and Suzanne Hoover, and Timothy and Sharon Ubben, for their respective gifts of the Green Center, Hoover Hall, and the Ubben lecture series.

“When choosing to commemorate someone at DePauw, we want to thank them for their good work, but we also want to hold them as an example of what we hope our students will achieve,” said McCoy. “Not that we are expecting everyone to go out and make a lot of money, that’s not the only marker of success, we want them to be successful remarkable people.”

All of the portraits will be displayed in different spots throughout campus. The Hoover’s portrait can be found in Hoover Hall, the Ubben’s portrait will be in the Union Ballroom, and the Green’s portrait will be just outside of Kresge Auditorium. “[Donations] impact each and every student on campus,” Owen said. “It happens because individuals step up and say we love this place we want to make it better.”

The board made efforts to address diversity and inclusion on campus. “We have a committee, called a special continuing committee on diversity and inclusion, I’ve made it a commitment of the board that in the general sessions, where everyone is present, that we will address inclusion each and every meeting,” Reavis said. “The board is supportive because it’s the right way to do things, and it’s what the world looks like and we are part of the world.”