A Tale of Two Board Meetings January 10-11, 2017
Gettysburg Board hands off baton to Trustees Configured for ULS
In historic firsts and lasts, two boards met in Gettysburg Tuesday and Wednesday, January 10th and 11th. One ended its service and handed off responsibilities for the continuing chartered school, soon to be United Lutheran Seminary.
Looking back over major decisions, turning points, and “history making” moments, the former board of Directors for Gettysburg Seminary completed its final bylaw changes for the transition and took time to remember highlights of their work in recent Gettysburg Seminary history. The meeting was followed by a worship service of Evening Prayer including a homily by Glenn Ludwig, celebrating the conclusion of their service and a banquet thanking 16 Directors completing their service. As a treasured gift to the Seminary archive and to continuing trustees, the departing board members registered their hopes and recommended wisdom to the new board, captured in bound copies that were distributed during the two days of meetings.
January 11: Dawn Brings New Board of Trustees Together
On an icy Wednesday morning, trustees representing synods from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast gathered for the first time, fulfilling business for the last six months of the school as Gettysburg Seminary and the forward navigation for United Lutheran Seminary. Following a brief orientation for new board members, the governance group adopted a committee structure with four committees and its executive committee. Later in the meeting the board elected its first slate of officers, with the Rev. Dr. Elise Brown to serve as Board Chair, Ms. Cheryl Williams as Vice Chair, the Rev. Cheryl Meinschein as Secretary, and Mr. Paul Wangerin in the role of Treasurer. The Rev. John Richter, who has chaired the LTSP board, was asked by the Transition Team to chair the inaugural meeting of this board because of the need to elect officers.
The first meeting of the newly configured Board of Trustees addressed a full agenda of business ranging from the approval of curricular design to the adoption of parameters for future employees of United Lutheran Seminary.
Presidents Michael Cooper-White and David Lose shared a presidential report and provided up to date summaries of progress against the original timeline set for the launch of the new school. With the continuing charter of the ULS following the Gettysburg Seminary corporate identity, the newly configured board governs Gettysburg Seminary until June 30th and acts upon decisions guiding the ULS now and after July 1st. President Cooper-White remains the institution’s president until June 30th.
The Gettysburg/ULS board reviewed content for the employee handbook, approved pension benefits and faculty development funds and set tuition for the first theological degree at $16,500 (holding to a small increase over the predecessor schools and maintaining commitment to full tuition support for qualifying candidates). The fee structure adopted reduced the number of overall individual fees of the predecessor schools but increased Gettysburg residential rents by 5%, the first increase in six years. Trustees received updates on the masterplan review for both campuses.
And the board also received an update on the presidential search from Charles Miller, chair of the search process. Miller indicated that the search remains on schedule for a spring decision.