St. Andrews (Laurinburg NC)). Looking out over the lake from the LA Building.

St. Andrews Alumni Council met on campus and by Zoom on September 17, 2022. Members have also attended three Board of Trustee meetings and gathered some news and information. We hope you enjoy this overview of news about St. Andrews and about council activities. 

Fun Note – Alligators in the Lake!

A community member posted a video on Facebook clearly showing a small alligator at the bridge on Dogwood Mile. It was likely 18 months old. In advance of the recent hurricane, St. Andrews drained the lake by 15 inches, and they spotted the mama alligator in the lake! Interim Campus President, Dr. Ellen Bernhardt mentioned that she feels like the lake has fewer geese, but reminds us that association is not causation. 😃   

Put Homecoming at St. Andrews on Your Calendar: November 12.

It’s becoming the second Alumni Weekend. Your new and old friends want to see you. 

Status Report

Facilities

Some spaces that suffered damage related to a past hurricane are not highly needed with current enrollment. While Vardell and Avinger were needed for instruction and student activities and were quickly repaired and refurbished, budget will go to the most attainable projects that achieve the highest value for current students. The grounds on campus continue to look fabulous. Lots of projects are keeping the campus moving along. This includes a new roof going on Granville, a recent deep cleaning of dorms with stripping of floors and doors, replacing fans in the ventilation system, a new lighting and heating system in the pool, modern AV equipment in most if not all classrooms, mattresses no more than one year old in all the rooms, and other maintenance/improvements that make a noticeable difference for students. For new facilities enhancements, the new lab for the occupational therapy assistant major is completed. 

Academics

St. Andrews plans to launch soon a new minor in not-for-profit management. The professor to be recruited for this minor will also work to enhance the campus’s capacity for identifying and applying for grants. This new academic enhancement is certainly inline with traditional St. Andrews ethos and comes on the heels of fourteen other recent curricular innovations. It’s part of a strategic plan to continuously innovate in the curriculum and to always offer a relevant, liberal arts education with majors that will help attract and retain competitive students. Every graduate earns a liberal arts degree irrespective of the major. 

Enrollment

This time last year, on-campus enrollment was at its highest point since 2008, 630 on-campus, full-time students. Including all students, total enrollment reached 898. Enrollment had been climbing steadily over the decade. To put this in perspective, in 1993, St. Andrews Presbyterian College had 589 full-time students and 51 part-time students. From 2002 to 2009, the average on-campus enrollment was 640. 

This enrollment was part of an ongoing trend where the incoming students over the past four years have been more competitive in terms of rankings in standardized testing compared to incoming classes from years prior to 2018. This year, we have slipped from the 2021 enrollment high. With 737 undergraduate students overall (online plus on-campus), fall-2022, on-campus enrollment is at 520. V.P. Brian Stanley reports that this stemmed largely from COVID restrictions blocking us from being able to personally meet students at critical times. Attempts to overcome this setback through innovations in digital marketing could not close the gap. Fortunately, Brian reports that college fairs and school visits are coming back, which should put us back on our upward trajectory. 

Council member Dr. Matt Clark pointed out that, due to U.S. demographics, experts expect the number of high-school graduates to start declining around the year 2026. This could lead to a more competitive college recruitment environment for which we need to be prepared.

Where Does Our Money Come From?

In 2020, funds to run the school came from four categories:

  1. Net tuition and fees reached roughly $13 million dollars. 
  2. Other revenue came from auxiliary services, which, after expenses, amounted to roughly $2.2 million. 
  3. Grants and contributions totaled a little more than $2 million.
  4. Insurance and investments contributed another $1 million.

Noting that in item two, we are only counting net revenue (the amount left over for education and expenses after the cost of delivering auxiliary services), the total revenue available for other campus operations was roughly $18.5 million. 

Where Does Our Money Go?

When thinking about where our money goes, we can conceptualize two categories: (1) money that goes directly to the student experience and (2) money that goes toward management. A high percentage of the St. Andrews net revenues as shown above goes directly to the student experience, 76%.

Fundraising, institutional support, management and general total 4.6 million (24%). Funds going directly to the student experience (instruction, academic support, and student services) total just under $15 million (76%).  

College president and fellow alumnus, Dr. Keith Wade sent the 2021 budget for further review. The breakdown of this distribution was similar – but leaning even more heavily toward student experience.

This PDF from Frostburg State provides definitions for these budget categories

Strengths, Vision, Direction

Most if not all staff and faculty recently divided into six work groups to consider the campus’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, vision, and purpose. Interestingly, even though these groups worked separately, they produced a consensus that the strength of St. Andrews is the sense of family and community. The staff and faculty concluded that our opportunity is continued innovation in academic programs. They also identified opportunity in improved grant exploration and improved charitable support from alumni (rising to match the support alumni themselves received as students). Here is the renewed purpose and vision of St. Andrews that came from this process:

Purpose

We create a life-transforming educational opportunity for our students so that they become critical, creative, and ethical thinkers ready to face tomorrow’s personal and professional challenges. 

Vision

St. Andrews is to be recognized as a regional leader for growing talent:

  • By providing an interactive and student-centered experience guided by faculty and staff who are exceptional in their respective fields
  • By offering educational programs grounded and enhanced by the liberal arts
  • By intentionally cultivating a family-based community where diversity is respected and celebrated
 

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