Board of Trustees actions: Nov. 19, 2004

November 19, 2004

Penn State's Board of Trustees met on Friday, Nov. 19, 2004, on Penn State's University Park campus. The following items were presented to the board for action or informational purposes:

Penn State Board of Trustees meets today; President Spanier's remarks
Penn State's Board of Trustees held its regular, bi-monthly meeting Nov. 19 on the University Park campus. In his opening remarks to the board, President Graham B. Spanier highlighted the University's enrollment numbers for this fall, which reveal all-time highs in the number of minority students enrolled at the University. The board also set room and board rates for the 2005-06 academic year and appointed architects for the new Penn State Cancer Institute at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and for new athletic and fitness facilities at the University Park campus. Trustees also heard informational reports about student aid and a recent workplace survey of Penn State faculty and staff.
Read the full text of the president's remarks at

Trustees approve 2005-06 room and board rates
Penn State students who reside on campus are living better than ever before, thanks to extensive housing projects and renovations designed to provide modern amenities and safety features. The University's Board of Trustees on Nov. 19 received an update on housing and food services at Penn State, and approved a modest increase of less than 5 percent to Penn State's average room and board rates effective for the 2005-06 academic year at all nine of the University's residential campuses, including University Park. On average, room charges for an undergraduate student living on-campus in a standard double room -- the most typical living arrangement at the University -- will increase by $90 per semester, from $1,625 to $1,715. The cost for meal plan three -- the most common plan of 12 to 13 meals per week -- will increase by $60 per semester, from $1,490 to $1,550. Housing and Food Services at Penn State are auxiliary enterprises, operating independent of tuition and state subsidies received by the University.
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Report shows Penn State faculty, staff are very pleased with their workplace
The results are in: The majority of Penn State faculty and staff believe the University is a good place to work. Rodney A. Erickson, executive vice president and provost, discussed the results of the 2004 Faculty/Staff Survey at the Board of Trustees meeting Nov. 19 on the University Park campus. The employee survey -- in which almost three-quarters of respondents indicated the University provides a highly valuable working experience -- was designed to provide Penn State officials with an overview of employee satisfaction and areas for possible improvement. In addition to collecting information to guide improvements and maintain a satisfying work environment, the survey was conducted with sights on improving student satisfaction, as well. "We believe that we can provide a better educational experience for students if our employees feel good about working at Penn State," said Erickson. "We have gone to great lengths to hire and retain employees that are capable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about working with college students."
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Penn State maintains enrollment plan; minority enrollment at record levels
Penn State continues to educate more students than any university in the northeastern United States, and minorities are enrolling at the University in record numbers, according to official enrollment data for the 2004-05 academic year. Overall, the University enrolls 81,664 students at 24 campus locations, reaching its target for this year and the second-largest enrollment in Penn State history. Minority students comprise a growing portion of Penn State's student body - now 12 percent. This year, the University enrolls a record 9,827 minority students, an increase of 2 percent over last year's total of 9,658 students. At University Park, enrollment stands at 41,289, consistent with the plan to limit capacity to between 40,000 and 42,000 students at Penn State's largest campus. The official University enrollment figures represent a one-day snapshot of the student body, typically taken several weeks into the fall semester. The enrollment report was presented Nov. 19 to the University's Board of Trustees.
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University students receiving financial aid in record numbers
As college costs rise nationwide in the face of shrinking state support for public higher education, Penn State is supporting more students in their quest to pay for college and continues to seek ways to stem the growth of post-graduate debt. A report Nov. 19 to the University's Board of Trustees cited that over the past 10 years, the number of students receiving some type of aid package from Penn State has increased from 66 percent to 78 percent of the undergraduate student body -- a total of 51,069 students. The dollar amount of that aid distributed over the same period has risen 150 percent, from approximately $200 million in 1993-94 to $500 million last year. At the same time, the University has played a significant role in keeping the amount of debt students face after they graduate steady over the past several years. The average educational debt of graduates in 2003-04 was $18,600 -- an increase of $1,600, or 9 percent, over the debt incurred by students in 1997-98.
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Board approves athletic facilities architects, Rec Hall expansion and addition
The Penn State Board of Trustees on Nov. 19 appointed the team of L. Robert Kimball & Associates of Pittsburgh and DLR Group of Philadelphia to develop architectural plans for upgraded baseball, softball and soccer facilities on the University Park campus, and final plans for expansion and renovation of the fitness center and wrestling facilities in Recreation Hall. The University will provide new facilities for the baseball team in one of two ways —- by upgrading the existing Beaver Field or by constructing a new stadium to be shared with a minor league baseball team from the New York-Penn League. Upgrades also are planned for the Nittany Lion softball field, and support facilities will be added to Jeffrey Field, home of the men's and women's soccer teams. Rec Hall fitness center renovations will meet the growing demand for student fitness facilities, enhance varsity athletic training facilities and upgrade the wrestling practice area.
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Trustees approve Penn State Cancer Center architect, Shenango master plan
The Penn State Board of Trustees on Nov. 19 commissioned the team of Payette Associates of Boston and Array Healthcare Facilities Solutions of King of Prussia, Pa., to develop plans for the new Penn State Cancer Institute at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The design team also will include a parking garage as part of the architectural plans for the Penn State Cancer Institute. The board also approved a new campus master plan for Penn State Shenango, which was developed with five primary goals: to improve pedestrian safety on and around campus; refine vehicular circulation and parking; accommodate potential student enrollment growth; address needs for student activity and recreation space; and strengthen visibility of the campus while improving its aesthetic qualities. In addition, trustees approved the purchase of 17.41 acres adjoining the Penn State Berks campus.
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Trustees approve $350 million in long-term borrowing
Penn State's Board of Trustees on Nov. 19 approved an authorization to increase the University's long-term borrowing to finance, in part, key capital projects at Penn State locations throughout the state. "In keeping with the University's five-year capital plan, we are proposing the board authorize $350 million of additional borrowing," said Gary C. Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the University. "Penn State's outstanding bonds are rated Aa2 by Moody's Investors Service, which is equivalent to our Standard & Poor's rating of AA," Schultz told the board. "This demonstrates very strong creditworthiness relative to other U.S. municipal or tax-exempt issuers or issues." In fact, only 4 percent of public universities are rated higher than Penn State. The University's rating considers its market position and student demand profile; research activity; the performance of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; its state relationship; financial reserves and wealth; operating performance; debt position and capital funding profile and Penn State's estimated debt capacity.
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Board hears of latest developments at Penn State's Innovation Park
New construction and a growing list of corporate tenants are signs that Penn State's Innovation Park is continuing its mission to facilitate collaborations between business and University research that will result in new technologies and boost the region's economy. In an informational report to the Board of Trustees on Nov. 19, Eva J. Pell, vice president for research and dean of The Graduate School, and Karen L. Dickinson, director of Innovation Park at Penn State, outlined the recent progress and future expectations of the growing research park. The board also approved continuing the Development Services Agreement with Research Park Management Corp. (RPMCo) for the management, supervision and coordination of development at Innovation Park. The University entered into the agreement, scheduled to expire on Nov. 30, in March 1990. The new agreement will extend the relationship for 10 years.
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Last Updated March 19, 2009