Alumni Association

Board Meeting Minutes | May 5, 2007

Attendance:  Dr. Burton Eisenberg, Dr. and Mrs. Luis Garcia, Dr. Joseph Gurwood, Dr. Michael Iatesta, Dr. Harry Kaplan, Dr. Thomas Landry, Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Lavine, Dr. Thomas L. Lewis, Dr. Anthony McDonald, Dr. Kenneth Savitski, Dr. Keith Votens, Dr. Karen Wrigley, Ms. Lynne C. Corboy, and Ms. Heather S. Giampapa.

Dr. Wrigley called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m.  Dr. Landry proposed a change to the January 22, 2006 minutes in that he wished his name be included in the attendance list. With this change noted, Dr. Savitsky moved for approval of the minutes, Dr. Landry seconded and the minutes were unanimously approved. 

Dr. Landry presented the treasurer’s report on behalf of Dr. Robert Spivack.

The balance as of July 1, 2006 $94,297.00
Income
Interest & Dividend 1,148.00
Gains (losses) 6,223.00
Total Income $ 7,317.00
Expenses
No expenses as of March 31, 2007  
Balance as of March 31, 2007 $101,686.00
Expenses projected before June 30, 2007
Expanding the Vision Pledge   (5,000.00)
Alumni Association Award   (1,500.00)
Student leaders at reunion   ( 375.00)
Total Expenses Projected $6,875.00

The Alumni Association is currently paying off a $25,000 Expanding the Vision pledge for the Hafter Student Community Center. The Alumni Association is also paying for several PCO students to attend the Reunion Celebration dinner on the evening of May 5th.

Dr. Iatesta made a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report, Dr. Rosenberg seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

Dr. Wrigley gave the President’s Report. Dr. Wrigley introduced PCO’s new Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Heather S. Giampapa. She asked Ms. Corboy to give an update on the 2007 Alumni Directory. Ms. Corboy reported that the College chose a new company to publish the alumni directory.  This publisher sent alumni an update questionnaire and asked them to make a contribution of any amount to pay for the publishing of the directory.  Any alumnus who returned the address update received a directory.  1,700 directories were distributed.

Dr. Wrigley thanked Dr. Savitsky for all the work he and his wife, Pam, did to ensure the success of the 2007 Reunion Celebration. Dr. Savitsky secured donated prizes for the prize drawing and favors for all attendees.

Ms. Corboy reported on alumni giving. Alumni giving for Fiscal Year 2006 totaled $519,254.00. A total of 1,503 alumni gave during that time, the majority of who gave at the $100 - $249 level. In Fiscal Year 2006, alumni giving was 23%. President Lewis would like to see alumni participation increase to 33%.

President Lewis updated the Association on several important PCO issues. He reported that PCO’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program will be up and running for the fall 2007 semester. A Program Director and faculty have been hired and students are currently being recruited; the goal is an entering class of 18 in the fall of 2007 and 40 in years after. This summer the College will be developing lab space and purchasing equipment.

The PA Program, if approved, will confer a Masters in Medical Science degree. This will bring to ten the number of degrees that PCO can confer.  More programs are being considered, including a Masters of Public Health and a Masters of Occupational Therapy. All new programs considered will be in the health sciences field and small in size.

In May 2007, the first four-year on-campus students will graduate from PCO’s School of Audiology, along with nearly three hundred online students. This is a clinical doctorate program conferring the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree. The goal for the on-campus program is to enter an audiology class of eighteen to twenty students each year. Laboratory and clinic spaces are currently up and running; much of the equipment is the only kind like it in the state.

The decision to diversify the College comes from a business fundamental – the College must diversify to ensure stability for the institution. However, these additional programs will make it increasingly confusing for the College to be known as Pennsylvania College of Optometry. At the end of 2004, the College began to take the steps to become a University. In April, representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Education held a site visit at the College. At that time, PCO unveiled its prospective new name: Pennsylvania Health and Science University.

Dr. Lewis stressed that the optometry college will continue to be known as Pennsylvania College of Optometry of the Pennsylvania Health and Science University. PCO is the school’s brand in optometry and it will remain so. Gifts that optometry alumni send to the university will continue to go to the College of Optometry.

Plans are being developed for the renovation of The Eye Institute. TEI was opened in 1978; the building will be thirty years old in 2008. For that reason, renovations are necessary, likely in the next two years. Architectural and construction firms have been hired, and it is likely that the project will include renovation and new construction on the lower level, with the intention to move all patient care to that level. 

Portions of the upper level would then be used for support services, an eating area and possibly for renting out for income. Dr. Lewis reported that he hoped construction could begin in the fall.
While renovations will likely cost approximately $8 million, there is no plan to run a traditional campaign for the funds.

President Lewis acknowledged the large alumni support for the Elkins Park move in 1996-97 and the recent Hafter Student Community Center building project.  The College is seeking federal and state grants to fund the renovation and will borrowing $5 million.  Some corporate and alumni giving will be needed.  President Lewis is considering an individual class challenge, perhaps allowing classes that donate over $20,000 in total to name exam rooms.  He and the College will be considering more creative ways to raise funds.

Currently, PCO has a $30 million per year operating budget and has $7.9 million in debt. There is $30 million in the investment portfolio (it is hoped this will increase to $35 million), $44 million in net income (it is hoped this will increase to $50 million) and $94 million total income (it is hoped this will increase to $100 million.)

Dr. Lewis also explained that PCO owns all three main buildings on the Elkins Park Campus, maintains offices in the majority of two of them and leases office space in the third.  There are approximately 2,000 students currently enrolled in PCO, although all are not on campus. The School of Audiology has approximately 35 students on campus and 1,100 online. There are approximately 50-60 students enrolled in Masters Programs. In addition, PCO has many affiliations with international schools, where PCO international degrees are given, including schools in Israel, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia, Austria, and Wales. Students from these countries are often present on campus, as well.

Dr. Savitsky reported for the Reunion/Special Events Committee. Forty-eight alumni and guests were expected to attend the Elkins Park Open House, while 143 were registered for Saturday evening’s Reunion Celebration. The class of 1997 had the largest turnout expected, with 22.

Dr. Savitsky reported that an idea for Reunion 2008 was corporate sponsorship to help keep costs down. Two possible themes are “Welcome Back” or “Coming Back.” Other ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. Dr. Savitsky hopes to keep building on the current numbers for a 10% increase in attendance each year.

Dr. Savitsky reported that he would be involved with the Lions Club Foundation through the end of 2007.  The Lions Club has created a new non-matching grant, and perhaps PCO could work on applying for that grant for TEI renovations. Dr. Lewis thanked Dr. Savitsky for the suggestion and indicated that once more finalized plans were in place, that would be looked into.

Ms. Corboy gave the nominating committee report on behalf of Dr. Cole. Each  board member is elected for a two-year term, but that term must be voted on each year. There is a maximum of ten directors allowed, currently there are nine on the ballot and a new nominee could be added. Dr. Anthony McDonald was nominated from the floor and his name added to the ballot. Dr. Iatesta moved to accept the slate as amended, Dr. Rosenberg seconded and the ballot was unanimously approved.

Dr. Lewis asked the alumni present what they saw as some barriers to others attending Reunion. Barriers were seen as life commitments and cost of travel to attend. Dr. Votens indicated that the class of 1997 was successful with an email chain, and it was noted that if class representatives are actively involved, that is also helps. Dr. Landry indicated that the class of 1987 had a successful newsletter for their ten-year reunion, although it did not help attendance. Local hotels were discussed, with the closest hotels (6 miles from campus) being affected by traffic, while downtown Philadelphia hotels are often more expensive.

Dr. Lewis described how Reunion and Graduation had historically been held on the same weekend, with the 50-year reunion class marching at graduation. However, presently it is difficult for PCO to reserve an adequate space in Philadelphia on a weekend day for graduation; for instance, Graduation 2008 will be held on a Thursday at the Kimmel Center.

Dr. Eisenberg suggested a Health Fair for the weekend of Reunion 2008, with current PCO students being given the opportunity to participate.

Dr. Wrigley thanked everyone for their attendance and reported that the next meeting will take place on a Sunday in October. The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Heather S. Giampapa