2016 will long be remembered as a transformational year on the Hilltop. The year began with Saint Anselm College once again serving as “New Hampshire’s home for politics,” as candidates (including Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and president-elect Donald Trump) and the media made their quadrennial trek to campus for another presidential election cycle with debates, rallies, lectures and town hall events. The Princeton Review’s annual rankings placed Saint Anselm among the best colleges and universities in the nation for student engagement in community service (sixth), best campus food (eighth), and happiest students (20th). And late in the fall, our community gathered to celebrate the historic generosity of Roger and Francine Jean’s $6 million gift, which has enabled the renovation and expansion of our Student Center Complex. The new complex will transform the center of our campus, and bring with it new and exciting ways to incorporate our Catholic, Benedictine values and ethos into the life of our community.
Our commitment to Saint Anselm’s students has never been stronger. With the participation of the entire college community, including our talented faculty, dedicated staff, and Board of Trustees, we continue to build on previous successes, and look to the future with a renewed resolve to make Saint Anselm College the best that it can be.
ADMISSION AND ENROLLMENT
530 first-year and transfer students arrived in the fall of 2016 as members of the Class of 2020. This class represents one of the most diverse and academically talented classes ever to be enrolled at Saint Anselm. Over the past three years, the college has stabilized enrollment, with entering class sizes between 518 and 528. Academic quality as measured by high school GPA is at an all-time high, and has also contributed to college highs in retention rates, which have been at 90% for the past two years.
Recruiting is well underway for the Class of 2021, and the Admission counseling staff recruitment plan this fall was our most expansive yet, bringing Saint Anselm representatives to more than 18 states and 19 foreign countries. Our emphasis on bringing prospective students to campus for information sessions, tours and open house programs is showing great returns; campus visits have risen 46% since 2013.
FUNDRAISING AND ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT
Fiscal Year 2016 concluded as the fourth best fundraising year in the history of the college. In addition, goals were exceeded for our Annual Fund, Reunion Fundraising and President’s Society Membership.
Fundraising for the Student Center has progressed strongly, with a total of $7.1M raised to date. The Jean Challenge of raising an additional $500,000 was met in June. Special thanks to Roger and Fran and all of the trustees and donors who helped us meet this goal.
On November 15, the 29th Corporate Partners Breakfast featured keynote speaker Ronald Renaud, Jr. ’90, chief executive officer of RaNA Therapeutics. Before an audience of 100 (including 12 current students), Ron spoke of how helpful his faculty mentor, education, and connections were along his career path and concluded that there has never been a better time to be at Saint Anselm College.
We hope to see you back on campus for Reunion Weekend June 9-11 when we celebrate the classes of ’67, ’72, ’77, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’97, ’02, ’07 and ’12.
Thanks in part to our fundraising success, but also to prudent financial management, our revenues exceeded our expenses in Fiscal Year 2016 and the college had a clean and successful audit. We finished the fiscal year with a position margin from operations of 5.8%.
Our endowment continues to be strong and to position us well for the future. However, the stock market’s return was not positive in Fiscal Year 2016. As a result, our endowment experienced a slight decline, from $130M to $123M. This does, however, compare favorably to peer and competitor institutions including St. Michael’s, Salve Regina, Assumption, and Merrimack. We are well positioned to compete with schools such as Sacred Heart, Providence and Fairfield today and in the future.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVENESS
The President’s Steering Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness is now in its second year working to address the needs of all students, and the search for a Chief Diversity Officer, who will report to me and work with the Cabinet and the entire college to address the need to recruit and retain a diverse student population as well as a diverse workforce, is well underway. We look forward to the increased awareness, education and activity that this position will bring to our entire campus within the coming year.
This past fall we announced that Hawks teams will continue to compete as active members of the Northeast-10 Conference for the 2016-17 academic year and beyond, as we continue to evaluate all options for the future of our Athletics programs. The Athletic Director’s Advisory Group, comprised of alumni, students, faculty, staff, present and former student-athletes, parents, and friends of the college, will continue to advise the Athletic Director, and subsequently myself and the Board of Trustees, on the best path forward for Hawks Athletics.
I thank you for your continued support as we continue to grow the reputation and reach of the college. I also thank you for your prayers. Faith remains one of the defining characteristics of Anselmians, and we will always remain grounded by our Benedictine roots. I look forward to a bright future for Saint Anselm College, with new achievements and challenges on the horizon.