College of William and Mary President Taylor Reveley maintained optimism for the College’s future in his State of the University message issued Nov. 23.
The 2009 – 2010 State of the University report provides the president’s perspective on the College’s financial and educational state in the past year and in the future. The annual report also included a budget overview of the College by Vice President for Finance Sam Jones ’75 M.B.A ’80.
“No college or university in the United States (at least none still breathing) has encountered more adversity over the centuries than William & Mary; like the phoenix, the College always rises from the fire,” Reveley said in the report.
Reductions in state funding were cause for concern for both Jones and Reveley. Jones expects state support to decline to 12 percent of operating revenue by 2012. Private gift revenues rival state supported revenue as 2011 fiscal gifts account for 11 percent of William and Mary’s overall budget.
“[It is not] realistic to assume that this trend, well established over several decades, will reverse,” Reveley said. “The Great Recession didn’t cause the decline in state support, only accelerated it.”
Looking to the future, Reveley said he believes the solution to this financial crisis lies in resting the College on four financial pillars: continued taxpayer support for capital projects and, to a diminishing extent, operations, growing streams of earned income including tuition and fees, research grants and contracts and entrepreneurial leveraging, greatly enhanced philanthropy, and internal productivity gains.
“The College is addressing this situation through a combination of expenditure reductions and revenue offsets,” Jones said. “Supplementing state funds with additional tuition and philanthropic support, the College continues to protect the quality of its core programs while providing incremental support for student financial assistance.”
What the College did choose to spend money on was mostly instruction, construction and auxiliary enterprises.
“Even as operating budgets are under stress, the College has taken measures to ensure the continued quality of its academic programs. One of these steps is a now decade-long building boom, which has involved much-needed and overdue constructions and renovations,” Jones said.
Jones also expressed confidence in one of Reveley’s four financial pillars: gifts.
“In fiscal 2009, William & Mary’s undergraduate alumni participation rate (22.4 percent) was second only to Georgia Tech’s (23.3 percent) among public institutions, and 26th overall in the top 40 colleges and universities ranked by U.S. News & World Report, according to the latest survey data released by the Council for Aid to Education,” he said.
The 2010 fiscal year saw a decrease from 2009, but gifts were still more than the $35.5 million raised in fiscal year 2008. The number of donors in fiscal year 2010 rose by more than 3 percent from 2009 and by more than 6 percent from 2008.
According to Reveley, the superb students of the College give him confidence for the future. He noted some achievements of College students over the last year including Kira Allman ’10 winning a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, 13 Fulbright Scholars, Olivia Walch ’11 being selected by the Washington Post as “America’s Next Great Cartoonist” and Miss Virginia USA Sam Casey ’11.
“Superb people figure out how to make things happen and find opportunity in adversity,” Reveley said. “Tens of thousands of William & Mary people are helping push — people on campus and around the world.”