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Highlights from the board’s special finance meeting

Grogan stepping down as chair; University’s strong financial position and more discussed by trustees.

By Matt Watson

December 15, 2021

Barbara GroganBoard of Trustees Chair Barb Grogan announced last week she will not return as chair next year at the board’s Special Finance Committee meeting. Grogan, whose term as chair ends Dec. 31, will remain on the board while shifting her focus to helping Advancement with the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign.

“I told President (Janine) Davidson – who is the best CEO I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with Fortune 500 CEOs – that I’m not leaving,” Grogan said. “Each one of you should be so proud of the work that you do and the students that you serve. Serving as a trustee is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.”

New board officers will be selected at the trustees’ first board meeting of the new year Jan. 28.

Financial strength

Controller Liza Larsen presented the trustees with an overview of the University’s financial standing, which has been boosted by one-time federal funding distributed to institutions of higher education during the pandemic.

A composite financial index, or CFI, is a quick measure of gauging the financial health of an organization. Larsen said MSU Denver’s CFI is high and that the University took in more revenue than it had in expenses in fiscal 2020 and 2021.

“It tells a really amazing story about the way we were able to respond to the pandemic,” Larsen said.

However, Larsen cautioned not to get too excited, because the numbers are inflated by the federal dollars.

“The key takeaway is, ‘We’re doing good,’” she said. “We have a strong, sound policy here to make sure that we are adjusting our expenditures in alignment with our revenues. Our financial picture looks a lot better than it did.”

Enrollment update

Vice President for Student Affairs Will Simpkins shared that full-time-equivalent enrollment for spring is down 13.9% from spring 2021. Fall enrollment was down 10.4% year-over-year. Simpkins said it is normal for spring enrollment to dip slightly from the fall across higher education but that enrollment is still a concern because of slides in fall enrollment, too.

MSU Denver will engage an enrollment-recovery consultant, among several short-term and long-term enrollment-recovery solutions presented to the board by Simpkins.

Simpkins also announced the departure of Mary Sauceda, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, who is leaving the University at the end of January for a role at Texas Woman’s University.

Additionally, the trustees heard briefings from students in the MBA and Master of Professional Accountancy programs who are auditing MSU Denver’s social-media structure and Department of Facilities.

Topics: Board of Trustees, Funding

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