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Archive Notes - March 2011

Although T. S. Eliot called April the cruelest month, my money is on
February or March. The days are short, but getting longer. The weather
is no longer stable: one day in the 40?s the next well below zero.
Snow is on the garden, but hope is in our hearts. The semester is well
underway, and we are all in for the long haul to May. As a distraction,
I wanted to share a few important things with you.

Budget Update

folks on campus these days are wondering what our budget will look like
for next year. Let me take this opportunity to outline some of the
variables with which we have to work in crafting a budget. They fall
into two categories: possible cuts and possible sources of new revenue.

first at the possible cuts, the Governor has proposed a 10% reduction
in state support to SUNY as part of his budget. The 10% cut, depending
on how it is allocated to the units, could mean a reduction of between
$1.5 and $2 million to our campus. At this point it is important to
remember that this is just a budget proposal. The Legislature has to
act to make it become law. From everything I have been able to glean in
Albany, while the 10% cut is a realistic scenario, it is also a
worst-case scenario.

?Among other possible reductions to our
base budget, it is possible that we will have to absorb other cuts to
SUNY. For instance, the Governor has called for eliminating all state
support to the teaching hospitals. That would in essence force our
medical schools to close, since they would not be able to operate the
teaching hospitals without that support. SUNY as a whole might have to
help them out. As well, the budget of SUNY central administration has
also been drastically reduced. The Chancellor might seek to get
assistance from all of the campuses to soften those cuts. This could
also affect our budget in a negative fashion.

?SUNY allocates
cuts in a manner similar to the way they used to allocate new
resources. There is some discussion of adopting a new allocation
model. Linked to this, the Chancellor has proposed at least part of our
state funds should be allocated through the use of performance
measures. At present there are no concrete models for any change to the
allocation process and in fact that might take months if not years to
perfect. Furthermore, recent information indicates that
performance-based funding may only apply to new monies allocated within
the system, a condition we can hope for in the future. The Chancellor
has promised to include the Presidents in the final discussion of any of
these models. Consequently, I do not expect any dramatic change on
this front in the near future.??On the revenue side of the equation, we
are experiencing a very strong recruiting year. Our applications and
acceptances are running equal to last year, which was one of the
strongest in decades. Our retention efforts also seem to be reaping
fruits, with higher than expected fall to spring retention this year. As
a result we anticipate continued growth in our undergraduate
population. This means that our tuition revenue will continue to be
solid. The Legislature is exploring proposals regarding a tuition
increase. There is consensus that if a tuition increase is approved,
the State should neither grab the tuition increase to resolve its own
fiscal issues nor inflict a concomitant reduction in state support to
SUNY, as has happened in the past. This consensus is being referred to
as ?maintenance of effort.?

?Here on our campus we are analyzing
all of these scenarios. We have to remember we have already lost nearly
$8.5 million, and we have not completely accommodated all of those
reductions. A cut of $1.5 to $2 million makes our job just that much
more difficult. Vice President Mike Lewis and I are exploring all of
these possibilities and building many different budget scenarios. We
are working closely with the President's Council to evaluate the impact
of various reductions and allocations of cuts on our campus. But given
the fluid nature of the budget talks in Albany, it is too soon to
finalize any plans. We are honestly studying the full range of possible
budgets to be able to respond when a final decision is made.

Personnel Changes in Business Affairs

have begun to organize a search to replace Vice President Michael
Lewis, who will retire at the end of this calendar year. A job
description has been written and I am consulting with the Faculty
Senate, SGA, and others regarding appointments to the search committee.
It is my hope that members of the committee will be able to meet
periodically over the summer so that we can invite candidates to campus
early in the fall semester, in order to hire a new Vice President with a
starting date of January 1, 2012.

With the retirement of William
Fisher as Assistant Vice President for Facilities this past December,
Vice President Lewis and I have been taking this opportunity to
reorganize the Facilities divisional structure. An announcement will be
forthcoming which provides an overview of this reorganization.

Fundraising efforts

the continued challenging budget climate the College Development Office
continues to actively seek charitable gifts and we remain focused on
achieving our annual goals in fundraising to support our student
scholarships, classroom renovations, and programs that make the SUNY
Potsdam experience unique.

Our annual giving goal for this year
is $2.4 million, and as of mid February we have already raised $2.2
million, with four months left in the fiscal year. According to the
most recent data, we rank 18th nationally among our peer institutions in
annual giving. Although we are one of the smallest units in SUNY we
also rank very high in charitable giving. We rank first in
undergraduate alumni participation, second in endowment per student, and
third in total alumni participation (as a percentage), in total funds
raised per student, and in bequests received.

We are so
fortunate to benefit from the extraordinary generosity of people like
Brock and Jane McElheran. The College Foundation is the beneficiary of
more than $1.6 million from the estate of the McElherans. Their gifts
will ensure funding in perpetuity for the School and programs that were
so special to them, including enhancing the McElheran Visiting Artist
Series, which brings international-caliber performing artists to SUNY
Potsdam?s Crane School of Music through a partnership with Community
Performance Series and providing additional funding for the N. Brock
McElheran String Scholarship endowment, which assists talented string
students in attending Crane. These gifts will also allow us to celebrate
the 125th Anniversary of the Crane School of Music during this
2011-2012 academic year in a way fitting the tradition of innovation of
Julia E. Crane and Helen Hosmer.

In short, the dedication and
affection of our alumni for the College reaps very positive benefits to
us in this difficult financial environment. I have every expectation
that our alumni and friends will continue to generously support the