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October 24, 2023

Dear Member of our Marietta Community,

Good afternoon.

When I first wrote to you as Marietta’s President in July, I promised to provide you with an update after each meeting of the Marietta College Board of Trustees. In this email, I will provide a few reflections on our Reunion Weekend, an update on important actions taken by the Board at last week’s meeting, and a few thoughts on the future we will build together.

I am so impressed by the caring for Marietta demonstrated by our alumni this weekend. The Reunion classes (especially our Golden Pioneers), the fraternity and sorority gatherings, alumni attendance at the theatre and sporting events, the Alumni Awards and Athletic Tribute Ceremony, the dinners, the breakfasts, the Veteran’s Center ribbon-cutting, the dedication of the Barbara Diggs Lyles ’51 House — many hearts pumped with blue blood throughout the weekend. It was such a pleasure to meet so many people who care so deeply for Marietta. Thank you to all of our graduates and friends who attended. We are truly grateful and glad that you made this Reunion a priority. And thank you to all of our current students, faculty, and professional employees who supported these events, especially our Advancement Team, who refueled their service from a seemingly endless wellspring of enthusiasm.

The Board of Trustees’ fall meeting took place late last week. The College’s senior staff provided detailed briefings on a number of important matters that relate directly to the duties of the Trustees. Their responsibilities include the duty to ensure that the College has the financial resources necessary to support our curricular and co-curricular programming. Highlights of these briefings:

  • a review of the changing demographics of high school graduates, including the projected continued drop in the number and proportion of students who will choose to attend college;
  • a review of the recommendations proposed by the administration, with the support of the faculty, on program discontinuations, suspensions, changes and reviews;
  • a review of the costs of running the College, including the funding needed to fully support student-focused programming, necessary program innovations, necessary technology improvements, and support for our employees;
  • a review of our FY24 budget status after one-quarter of operations and a forecast for FY24; and
  • a review of the College’s proposal for a strategic plan that includes five strategic priorities that are necessary to ensure the College’s financially sustainable future.

After lengthy discussion and careful consideration of these briefings, supporting materials, and all of the feedback that has been received, particularly related to the proposed program discontinuation, the Board of Trustees took the following actions:

  • The Board voted to approve the College’s recommendations on program discontinuations, suspensions, changes and reviews. Information on these recommendations was shared with you in an email from the Provost and Dean of Faculty on 9-26-23. You can find the list of these specific decisions here:
  • The Board voted to approve the College’s proposed strategic plan titled Marietta Forward. This plan includes five strategic initiatives that will help to ensure increases in new student enrollment, student retention, student persistence, and student success. The Board authorized the President to implement Marietta Forward pending the Board-led development of a funding plan. In addition, the Board authorized the initiation of a Marietta Forward fundraising campaign to support these student- and program-focused initiatives. You can find details about the Marietta Forward plan here:

We are fortunate to have a Board of Trustees that fully embraces its responsibilities to ensure that the College has the financial resources necessary to deliver on our educational promises. This work can be difficult, as it sometimes requires — as it does today — the discontinuation of programs that, while under-enrolled, have long been offered by the College and are valued by our community. Our Trustees understand that members of our community will be deeply impacted by these changes. I respect the Board for considering all of the feedback that it received on the proposed changes during its deliberations. If you wrote to share your perspective, thank you.

Marietta Forward provides the College community with an action-oriented roadmap for our next steps to ensuring a financially sustainable, relevant, and vibrant future. Marietta Forward will allow us to invest in our community in vital ways. We will be talking about this initiative in much greater detail in the months to come. Together, we will write the next chapter of Marietta’s history, and the Marietta Class of 2023 will enjoy its Golden Reunion on our beautiful campus in 2073.

Thank you for caring about Marietta College.

President Margaret L. Drugovich