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Feb 2013 Governing Board Digest

The following is the Governing Board Digest for the meeting which took place on Martin Luther College's campus from February 7th to the 8th in 2013.

  • Acting in the role of the Romberg Supporting Foundation Board of Trustees, a standard distribution of $170,643 from the Romberg Supporting Foundation was approved with $127,982 (75%) designated for MLC tuition assistance and $42,661 (25%) for Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School.
  • New board member Rev. Duane Rodewald of Simpsonville, SC, was welcomed to his first meeting.
  • Rev. Jonathan Kolander of Menomonee Falls, WI, was elected vice chairman of the board.
  • Mr. Randy Matter of Cedarburg, WI, was appointed to a second three-year term as an advisory member of the board.
  • Divine calls were extended to Rev. Brian Hennig, currently serving at Emanuel, New London, WI (professor of theology and history); Mr. Robert Fischer, currently serving as director of mission advancement at Fox Valley LHS, Appleton, WI (vice president for mission advancement); Miss Jennifer Krause, currently serving at St. Matthew's Lutheran School, Janesville, WI (professor of education); and Mr. James Carlovsky, currently serving at Kettle Moraine LHS, Jackson, WI (professor of education).
  • The board recommended the hiring of Mr. Jonathan Scharlemann to a part time role in our Mission Advancement Office with an emphasis on deferred gifts following his retirement from full time service this summer. This position will be re-evaluated after one year.
  • Director of Finance Carla Hulke provided a report on college finances showing a $1.7 million increase in cash position since the end of the last fiscal year. She also noted that the funding gap for the construction of the new Early Childhood Learning Center is now under $750,000 as gifts continue to arrive on a steady basis.
  • Vice President Wendler and Rev. Michael Otterstatter provided an update from the Early Childhood Learning Center Building Committee. Asbestos abatement has begun at the Luther Manor site in preparation for demolition of the building in early March. Site work and construction will begin in early April with completion set for September 1 and occupancy by September 15. Forty-four pre-primary students are already on the enrollment list for next year. The final project cost is not to exceed $3.385 million.
  • The board received an update on the planned senior living complex next to the new Early Childhood Learning Center from developer Anton Doneff. The college expects to complete the sale of the southern half of the Luther Manor property within the next two months, allowing the construction of a 50 unit senior living facility. Mr. Doneff indicated that a recent survey of prospective tenants shows that interest in the senior living facility, with its close proximity to the college and opportunities for intergenerational ministry, remains strong.
  • Mark Arnold, president of WELS Investment Funds (WIF), provided a report showing that MLC currently has $6.6 million invested with WIF. This represents approximately 5% of WIF’s combined net assets. Investment returns for the year to date are in the 8% range and are expected to remain static in the coming months. Mr. Arnold’s report was provided as part of the board’s ongoing fiduciary responsibility, awareness and training.
  • The addition of a special education major was approved along with the calling of a special education professor for the 2013-2014 academic year. The call for nominations will be initiated immediately. Once a list of candidates has been finalized, a call meeting will be held via teleconference.
  • The board received notice of the retirements of Dr. John Nolte and adjunct music instructor Lanita Nolte at the end of the 2013-14 school year. The board subsequently approved the immediate calling of a music professor to direct choir and teach music courses beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year. Once again, the call will be extended as soon as the preliminary arrangements for securing a list of candidates can be finalized.
  • A report recommending that the college decline a request from Pilgrim Lutheran in Minneapolis to partner as “authorizer” for the establishment of a charter school in the Twin Cities area was endorsed.
  • The plan to offer a Teaching Online Certificate Program as part of our Continuing Education offerings was approved.
  • Meeting dates were set for 2013-14 with the board gathering in New Ulm on September 26-27, 2013, and February 20-21, 2013.
  • Student Tyler Weinrich, Admissions Counselor Michael Koepke and Tutor Jason Enderle introduced themselves to the board and provided insights to their involvement at MLC.
  • The service and retirements of Prof. John Gronholz, Dr. Mark Lenz and Vice President for Mission Advancement Jonathan Scharlemann at the end of the current academic year were recognized at a special Thursday evening banquet.
  • The service and retirements of Prof. John Gronholz, Prof. Susan Haar, Dr. Mark Lenz, Dr. Carla Melendy and Vice President for Mission Advancement Jonathan Scharlemann at the end of the current academic year were recognized at a special Thursday evening banquet.
  • The further investigation of an overture from several local organizations for a partnership to construct and maintain an indoor recreation facility on the MLC athletic fields was encouraged.
  • The highly visible campus wide efforts of the Campus Beautification Committee were acknowledged with appreciation.
  • Given the anticipated large influx of new faculty members anticipated in the near future, the administration was encouraged to develop a plan to address the issue of transitional housing.
  • The administration was encouraged to continue exploration of options for placement of a Verizon cell phone tower on the campus.
  • Vice President Thiesfeldt led the board in a training session to overview the Compelled to Speak strategic plan and used a hypothetical exercise to demonstrate how the various initiatives of the strategic plan might be prepared for implementation. The full plan was approved for implementation with the addition of a tracking mechanism for regular reporting and updates to the board.