November 23, 2010
Dear Alumni and Friends:
Greetings to you from the San Diego Airport!
Kathy and I are wrapping up a series of trips to Chicago, New York City, and California to visit alumni and friends of Moravian. And what a good trip it has been!
All along the way, the people we have met, men and women from a wide variety of backgrounds and career paths, are proud of their Moravian education. As we have listened to their stories, we hear a common theme: Moravian prepares men and women for lives of leadership and service by helping them build a solid foundation for life. A foundation built upon intellectual challenge, preparation for the world of work, and the ability to discover real enjoyment in life.
Of course, they have all wanted to know, “How is Moravian doing?”
I am happy to report that the life and work of Moravian is going well! We are living out our mission, despite the real challenges we face due to the ramifications of the Great Recession.
Our enrollment is stable. We opened the new academic year with 1,532 students.
The freshman class is 373 strong. About one third of these students are interested in studying mathematics and the sciences; about one third are the first in their family to attend college; and about 15 percent come from historically under-represented groups. This is a diverse and able group of young men and women.
The academic program continues to be strong. The faculty is in the process of implementing a new Freshman Seminar program that will develop writing and communication skills, while providing stronger academic advising. The most popular majors are psychology, business administration and management, nursing, English, and sociology. Our program in education continues to be among the most popular programs we offer, with about 12 percent of the student body taking courses in education.
To make a Moravian education affordable, the College distributes about $20 million in financial aid each year to about 95% of the students. As the national economy has slowed down, family incomes have decreased, and the financial needs of students have increased. To meet these growing needs, we have increased the pool of funds available for financial aid by about 20 percent. This has required us, in turn, to reduce administrative and staff spending accordingly.
The endowment, which is shared by the College and the Seminary, is recovering after suffering some significant losses as a result of the Great Recession. As of September 30, the endowment was valued at about $80 million and was growing at about a rate of 7 percent.
Kathy and I were frequently asked about the challenges Moravian faces and what plans the College has for the future.
Fortunately, our academic program is well conceived and well delivered. Our biggest challenges have to do mostly with the management of our existing resources as well as increasing revenue. To obtain these goals, we need to continue to grow our enrollment, broaden the breadth and depth of participation in fundraising, and control spending in order to increase the revenue we have available to support our academic programs for the benefit of our students.
As we look to the future, we plan to renovate and expand the Collier Hall of Science so that we have the appropriate facilities to support the innovative teaching and research in which our students and faculty are engaged. Our faculty, facilities management personnel, and architects are in the process of conceiving and designing the new spaces. The initial phases of fundraising have begun toward reaching our $15 million goal for the project.
We have also changed the focus of our annual fundraising emphasis. The Moravian Scholarship Fund, as we are calling it, will gather more than $1 million each year from alumni and friends, like you, to help our students finance their college education at Moravian. We are counting on you to assist us in this endeavor by supporting the Moravian Scholarship Fund this year!
Thanksgiving is here! Kathy and I give thanks for the mission, the heritage, and the daily vitality of Moravian College. We give thanks for you and for the support you contribute. We give thanks for our students, faculty, and staff—a great community of men and women committed to education for leadership and service for the common good!
Christopher M. Thomforde