BOARD SETS CAP ON TUITION INCREASE
President Lee Snyder encouraged Bluffton College trustees to "remember the people who have built this college community" as the board met on campus Oct. 31-Nov. 1.
In her remarks, President Snyder paid special tribute to Dr. Richard F. Pannabecker, emeritus professor of biology, who died Oct. 24.
President Snyder said the significant increase in this fall's first-year class contributes to a sense of "energy and momentum" within the college community. First-year students total 267, besting the previous all-time high of 263 in 1995 and up 22 percent from last year.
She noted the opportunity through the strategic planning council and reaccreditation self-study to determine goals and direction for Bluffton's second century. A committee chaired by Trustee Edith Landis of Telford, Pa., is planning for the centennial celebration, scheduled for academic year 1999-2000.
Dr. Wesley Richard, professor of communication and English, heads BC's self-study for reaccreditation by North Central Association. Richard said Bluffton will use the self-study's findings "as a means to improve the effectiveness of the college as an institution as we prepare for our future."
The board gave preliminary approval to Bluffton's lowest percentage increase in tuition, room and board in 11 years, setting a cap of a 4.75-percent increase in costs for 1998-99. The final rate, not to exceed the cap, will be approved by executive committee in February.
At his first BC board meeting, academic dean Dr. John Kampen called attention to two new articulation agreements with Findlay/Toledo and Lima area community colleges and stressed their role in recruitment of local students. The board also learned that BC has opportunity to join OHIONET. Through this independent colleges network, BC would have access to OhioLink, an automated system that provides access to resources in all public university libraries in Ohio. Trustee Ron Lora of Toledo, who heads the board academic affairs committee, said, "This represents a wonderful contribution to student academic life."
The board approved seven scholarships, six of which will be matched with funds from the college. They are:
--The Jean Jochen Anderson Scholarship Fund, donated by Anderson, a 1964 graduate.
--The Andy Lehman Memorial Scholarship Fund, donated by family and friends of Lehman, a 1997 graduate killed in a job-related accident this September.
--The George and Mary Tanner Parry Memorial Scholarship Fund, donated by daughters Lyndell Turner and Susan Salisbury and family members. Mary Tanner Parry graduated from BC in 1960.
--The Barbara A. Sprunger Scholarship Fund, donated by Sprunger, class of 1948.
--The Jerry Francis Schiffer Memorial Scholarship Fund, donated by Marilyn S. Schiffer, family and friends. Jerry and Marilyn Crawfis Schiffer graduated from BC in 1958.
--The Charles William Lewis Sr., and Arlene Harper Lewis Scholarship Fund, donated by son Jerry Lewis and family.
The board also approved one non-matching scholarship, The Senior Challenge Scholarship Fund, donated by graduating seniors beginning with the class of 1997.
In the matching scholarship program, individuals, families and companies are encouraged to raise a minimum of $5,000 in three years or fewer, which is then matched by $5,000 from the college challenge fund. BC now has 193 endowed scholarships, nearing its goal of 200 by the year 2000. In total, the college offers 264 scholarships to students, plus additional financial aid and grants.
Dr. Donald Schweingruber, dean of student affairs, said that while BC faces a "housing crunch," he continues to be committed to the college's residential focus. This year, BC has 696 students in residence halls with total capacity of 699.
He also said students have taken this fall's "community of respect" orientation focus seriously. "I am impressed by the willingness of our students to confront other students with courage and responsibility, to make this the best community possible. I continue to learn never to underestimate the quality of our students and their commitment to campus. It is a community of respect. It is a good place to be."
The 25-person Bluffton College board of trustees meets semiannually and includes members appointed by alumni, the General Conference Mennonite Church and its Central and Eastern district conferences, as well as members at large.
Cheryl Zehr Walker, BC Communications Office, 11/3/97