Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Council of Trustees had to absorb a lot of information, much of it positive, during its meeting Thursday.
It was another virtual meeting, with many gathered online to hear what was going on at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex — including what Associate Vice President for University Operations and Administrative Services Sam Phillips called a “refreshingly positive” report about the KCAC itself.
During his briefing of the trustees’ Administration and Finance Committee, Phillips said, “It is definitely nice to be busy.”
He reported 160 events at the KCAC in the quarter ending March 31, up 300 percent from the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2020.
Phillips said the KCAC experienced a surge in event activity, attendance, and improved financial performance, beginning in January.
Event attendance totaled 26,347, up 24,390 or 1,200 percent from the previous quarter, while total event revenues were $180,866, up $123,456 or 215 percent.
That doesn’t include what the IUP executive called “amazingly effective” efforts by Indiana Regional Medical Center to provide COVID-19 vaccine, saying the White Township hospital had to work its efforts in around other activities.
Through Wednesday, Phillips said, “nearly 27,000 of our local citizens” received shots, with nearly 1,500 on Wednesday alone.
And while year-to-date net operating income still is in the hole, by $101,093, that’s up $76,529 or 43 percent from October, November and December.
Phillips said total operating expenditures were $418,271, less than the budget by $318,327, but better than last year by $190,436 or 31.3 percent.
“In summary, because of strong vendor performance and efficiently managed facility overhead expenditures, easing of event group gathering restrictions resulted in significantly improved facility financial performance and a return to consistent monthly profitable performance for the third quarter of fiscal 2020-21,” Phillips told the trustees.
While the KCAC has left a quiet phase, the university’s fund-raising apparatus is entering one, similar to the phase that preceded the unexpectedly successful Imagine Unlimited campaign where more than 22,000 donors provided nearly $81.4 million.
It will precede the next major campaign, around IUP’s sesquicentennial in 2025.
“We are planning a rather exciting event,” Vice President for University Advancement Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna said. However, “we are not in a campaign right now, we are just planning.”
It is a quiet time but also a busy one. Trustee University Advancement Committee Chair Jennifer Baker said maintaining constituent outreach for university support continues to be a daily focus.
“One priority area, the Student Assistance Fund, assisted 647 students with awards totaling more than $525,000 from IUP donors and more than $809,000 in (federal) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or) CARES Act funds to date,” Baker said in her report. “Fundraising efforts have included IUP Giving Day in April, raising nearly $98,000 from 636 unique donors and leveraging $41,000 in donor match money in 14 challenges.”
Efforts also are made to send out thank you notes. During Thank a Donor Week, Baker said, 364 student thank-yous were sent on postcards to 2,479 Imagine Unlimited donors. Personalized video messages also were sent out.
“We saw examples of how IUP has impacted generations of students in numerous ways, and their giving back makes it possible for current and future students to have the same opportunities for a life-changing educational experience,” IUP President Dr. Michael A. Driscoll said in his quarterly report to the COT.
IUP Vice President for Enrollment Management Dr. Patricia McCarthy said there is an increase in both new freshman and transfer tuition deposits over last fall. She said new graduate enrollment is slightly behind the fall of 2020 in completed applications and admitted students.
Summer registration is ahead of last year in terms of students taking classes. In her report summing up McCarthy’s comments, Trustee Enrollment Management Committee Chair Joyce Fairman said fall 2021 registration is progressing well toward the projected headcount for overall enrollment as well.
In his remarks, Driscoll said the pandemic has caused obvious stress on family budgets.
“We know more scholarship money is one of the keys to helping increase enrollment,” the IUP president said. “Our alumni and friends have shown their support of our students in big ways, and we are thankful for that. And our students will be, too.”
Driscoll added that IUP has begun offering a $1,000 discount to students who sign up for campus housing, “and so far, we have seen an uptick in those students.”