Chairman Joseph M. Bryan Jr. updates community about Board of Trustees

Just as an Indian summer arrived at Guilford College, the Board of Trustees met for their annual meeting the weekend of Oct. 11.

The board committees met and discussed topics relevant to current Guilford issues and reported to the full board for what are called “action items.”

Most trustees have established themselves in the business and academic communities. They all serve the board without pay and donate to the College.

There were only a few action items taken at the October board meeting, according to Ty Buckner, associate vice president of communications and marketing.

“Most of the action items were passing the budget … and looking at the new website that the College will roll out soon,” said Buckner.

Even with few action items to discuss, The Guilfordian sat down with the chairman of the board following its last meeting on Oct. 12.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Joseph M. Bryan Jr. ‘60 has donated over $9 million to the College throughout the years. In the interview, Bryan Jr. answered several questions.

 

Q: How long have you served on the Board of Trustees? 

A: I have been on the board for over 40 years. In two years, I plan on stepping down.

 

Q: Was there any talk about the sexual assault policy at the College? 

A: I know that Student Affairs brought up the policy. We are not unlike many colleges and universities in the nation who have sexual assault policies. It is my understanding that we are following campus policy with these matters.

 

Q: Do you ever think there will be a way that board members will make a space to meet with students, to get to know folks that go to Guilford? 

A: I know that Lionel Johnson, chair of the student affairs subcommittee, informed the board that we should create a panel where board members would actually meet students and get to know them personally.

 

Q: What does it take to become a member of the Board of Trustees?

A: I heard it said somewhere that in order to be on a board, think three W’s: wisdom, wealth and work. As for this board, it does not necessarily mean that they give a lot of money, but certainly that the members can go out and get money for the College ….

We have a good mixture for those who get and give. All members of the board put in the work. This is not a board that rubber-stamps everything; we put in countless hours of our time, which requires patience. The BoT is a voluntary commitment.

 

Q: Is the board aware of APSA, or the Administrative Program and Services Assessment report? Is the board aware that students and faculty crowded into an auditorium to address the committee’s report?

A: Kent (Chabotar) made the board aware of the report. He said there were some things he liked about the report and other things he did not. Right now this is not a board issue, but we have been made aware of the report. I expect that once the report has been completed that the board will be made aware.

 

Q: Is there any update on the presidential search?

A: Yesterday, we met with a representative from the search firm. We are looking for a candidate that can embrace Quaker principles, but they do not have to be Quaker. They do not have to have an advanced academic degree either. All options are open and it is too soon in the process to know exactly what we will find in our candidate.

Q: The last time we met, you said that there were financial challenges facing higher education. What kind of challenges does Guilford face financially?

A: The board is focused on enrollment; the drop in Pell grants and state-based (aid) being lost means some are not able to attend college. Guilford tries to be culturally diverse and it costs the institution by giving financial aid to these students with such great need. We hope to find more full-paying students to help offset that continuing discount rate. This is not unique to Guilford; it is happening in colleges and universities all over the country.