By Jonathan Smith, Managing Editor
Phil Schubert, vice president of finance, told about 230 faculty and staff members at Tuesday’s State of the University address that the university can expect budget pressures of between $4 million to $6 million over the next two years.
Schubert said that figure is a worst-case scenario and that he hopes, through financial gifts that are being pursued, the pressures will be less.
Thirteen strategic teams have been organized this year in an effort examine the university’s finances and create a balanced budget for the 2004-05 school year.
“Today, we’re in a situation where we can assess our situation,” Schubert said, instead of during the financial crisis in 1992 when most problems could be examined only after they were created.
Schubert said he believes the “collective experience and commitment of this faculty and staff and our faith in God will transcend these difficulties.”
Jack Rich, executive vice president, also spoke in the address about the university’s enrollment.
Rich said some positive enrollment trends include graduate enrollment is up 57 students and the four- and six-year graduation rates have improved this year; however, the university has also received fewer new students-one of the negative trends. Even though enrollment is down only two students from last year, Rich said it is down 86 students from 2000.
“Enrollment has dropped in the last few years, and we’re taking some aggressive steps to reverse that,” Rich said.
Some of the steps being taken include the integration of recruiting, marketing and alumni and university outreach and increasing alumni engagement.
Dr. John Tyson, vice president for development and alumni relations, spoke regarding the centennial campaign and celebration, which will take place during the 2005-06 school year.
A goal of $150 million has been set for the centennial campaign, which will include gifts given to the university since 2001 to 2006; 30 percent of that goal has already been achieved, Tyson said.
“People want to give to a bold case, and we believe Abilene Christian University has a bold case,” Tyson said.
$17 million of the goal will go toward annual operations, $38 million will go to capital projects and $95 million will go to the endowment, Tyson said.
Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, closed the address by reminding faculty and staff not to worry.
“God does his best work in difficult times,” Money said. “Expect to succeed. Whatever it takes to succeed we’re going to do.”