VU Board of Trustees holds Annual Meeting, tours Technology Open House

Vincennes University Logo

October 05, 2022

VINCENNES, Ind. - Monday made for a busy day on campus for the Vincennes University Board of Trustees. The Board held its annual meeting in Updike Hall - Center for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics in the morning. In the afternoon, the Trustees attended the Technology Open House in the Technology Center.

During the Oct. 3 meeting, the Trustees re-elected John Stachura as Chairman of the Board. Two Trustees, Second Vice Chair Reggie Henderson and Kelly Clauss, began serving new terms.

 VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson congratulated Stachura, Henderson, and Clauss in his remarks.

Johnson also gave an update on enrollment. Applications for Spring Semester 2023 and Fall Semester 2023 are trending in the right direction, according to Johnson. He added that system-wide numbers are up in headcount and full time equivalency, and the leading areas seeing growth are the VU Jasper Campus, online programs, and Early College programs.

International enrollment numbers have also increased, and 20 countries are represented. VU has achieved 100 percent growth since 2016. Driving the increase are students from China, where VU has a special focus. The growth has occurred in both on-campus and online enrollments.

“I’m pleased and proud to say we’ve made great strides despite the pandemic,” Johnson said. “In fact, because of the pandemic, VU faculty and staff, working with our partner, R1SE Education, found a creative way for students to begin their VU education, even when travel restrictions made it impossible for them to come to the U.S. New online international cohorts of students were created and faculty restructured their courses to incorporate live learning activities, despite the 12-13 time difference.”

The Board heard reports from Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs Tony Hahn, Executive Director of VU Foundation and Senior Director of Institutional Advancement Kristi Deetz, and Director of Development Leslie Kidwell.

Hahn provided a brief update on Robeson Hills, a 545-acre nature preserve in Lawrence County, Illinois, that is owned by VU and serves as an outdoor laboratory and environmental education site for VU students. Robeson Hills is one of the best examples of an old-growth beech and maple forest in all of Illinois, and it also has significant archaeological significance, according to Hahn. He reported that a Purdue Extension certified forester has consulted with VU on what it should do to maintain the intent of the preserve. Hahn says the next step is to employ a qualified forester through a request for proposal process to complete a forest inventory and create a forest management plan.

In her report, Deetz reported on fundraising achievements and provided highlights of the past year. The 2021-22 fundraising year marked significant growth in several stages of the moves management process and engaged new donors. The Foundation and University exceeded their overall fundraising goal and met several other goals.

“The beautiful news is gifts have really gone up, and that means people are giving recurring gifts and are giving more than once a year,” Kidwell said. “We are also obtaining new donors. With 125,000 living alumni in our donor database, growing that number is very important to us. You will see an increase of 27 percent.”

They also shared that the third annual Blazers Give Day is April 13, 2023.

In other Board news, University Compliance Officer Amie Calvert was introduced to the Board. Calvert joined VU in this newly created role this summer. Given the overlap with compliance responsibilities, she will also serve as the Title IX Coordinator for VU.

After the meeting concluded, the Trustees toured VU’s new Center for Applied Robotics and Automation, Additive Manufacturing and Reverse Engineering Center, and HURCO Advanced CNC Machining Technology Center in the Technology Center. The open house officially opened the three state-of-art laboratories.