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Penn College Board Approves Housing Rates for 2006-07

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved new Residence Life housing rates for 2006-07, authorized budget adjustments based on enrollment increases and modified a lease agreement with a communications company.

Before taking action on agenda items, Board Chairman Robert E. Dunham asked for a moment of silence to honor the memory of Janis E. Jacobs, a member of the board who died Sept. 16 after a long illness. Jacobs was vice president and dean for undergraduate education at Penn State.

“She was a superb administrator and on her way, I think, to become a president somewhere,” Dunham said of Jacobs.

“She was a wonderful help to me personally and to this institution,” added Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

A globe and stand honoring Jacobs will be placed in the Roger and Peggy Madigan Library when it is completed, Gilmour added, noting Jacobs’ enthusiasm for international education.

Robert Secor, who has been appointed to take Jacobs’ position on the board, was welcomed back by fellow board members. He had served on the board until his retirement (in June 2004) as vice provost for academic affairs at Penn State.

The board approved student-housing rates reflecting an average increase of $97.50 per semester ($195 per year) over 2005-06. Depending upon the room configuration, the rates for 2006-07 will range from $1,650 (one-bedroom apartment as triple) to $3,025 (single efficiency) per semester.

Other Residence Life increases approved are: summer student rates, $5 (to $105/week); Residence Life activity fee, $4 (to $18/semester); and per-night charge in excess of contract, $5 (to $20/night).

The board made adjustments to the budgets of the Operating and Auxiliary funds to reflect additional revenues and expenditures related to summer and fall enrollments in excess of budgeted projections. The Fall 2005 total enrollment of 6,537 set another record. “It clearly exceeded our budget projections,” Gilmour said, adding that, the percentage of students in baccalaureate programs also increased from 36 to 38 percent.

The board approved modification of a lease with Cingular Wireless for property upon which Cingular’s predecessor (AT&T) erected a communications tower on the Earth Science Center property. The new agreement calls for a five-year guaranteed term that may be renewed for two additional five-year terms (though without the guarantee). If Cingular terminates the lease at some point during the two five-year extensions, it must provide 60 days’ notice to the college and pay a fee equal to six months’ rent.

The board heard from Veronica M. Muzic, vice president for academic affairs/provost, about industry partnerships. She said industry donations in support of equipment and scholarships have totaled $6.1 million over the past five years.

Edward S. Crooks, president of ECA Investment Group Inc., reported on the investment portfolios of the college and the Penn College Foundation, telling the board. “This has been a tough year in the market.” The college’s aggregate investment portfolio saw increases of 3.38 percent for the previous year and 5.13 percent (annualized) for the past three years, he said. Crooks said the performance of the college’s portfolio lagged behind the Foundation’s portfolio, because it is more conservative, with heavier weighting toward bonds and large-company stocks.

Gilmour told the board that 15 students have been called to National Guard duty to aid in the relief effort for Hurricane Katrina, and another two students have been called to traditional military service this semester. “That’s a lot for us,” she said.

The president said the recent 365-day countdown event for the Roger and Peggy Madigan Library was a success, having generated the donation of 605 children’s books for distribution to more than three dozen local nonprofit agencies. “We think we made a big difference for literacy with our event,” she told the board.

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