Board of Trustees May 2023 Meeting

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College Community:
The Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees held its May meeting on May 12-13. During our time on campus, the trustees joined with the students, faculty, staff and alumni to celebrate the many accomplishments made during the presidency of Maria Klawe, as she prepares to leave the College to join Math for America in New York as its next president.
On Friday, during our plenary session in the morning, we learned more from Vice President for Academic Affairs and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty Tom Donnelly about the 11 new faculty members recently hired by the College. Joining us will be new faculty in Computer Science (2), Chemistry (1), Engineering (3), Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts (2), Mathematics (1) and two joint positions in the Hixon Center for Climate and the Environment with Chemistry and Computer Science. Trustees also enjoyed spending time having lunch with staff at the College, learning more about their work. We are grateful for the many contributions of our staff in supporting our students and faculty, and we thank them for their commitment to the College. 
During our meetings, we had the opportunity to exercise one of our favorite duties—approval of our 2023 candidates for graduation. Saturday morning, during our plenary session, we heard from five graduating seniors who shared stories of their experiences at Mudd as well as their future plans. Thank you to seniors Eric Corona (Physics), Kathleen Durkin (Mathematical and Computational Biology), Ava Fascetti (Engineering), Justin Jiang (Mathematics and Computer Science) and Jessica Marvin (Engineering) for sharing your thoughts. We congratulate you and your classmates for your wonderful accomplishments and look forward to hearing great things from you in the future.
In addition to our conversations with the seniors, the board made several key decisions we would like to share.

Campus Improvements    

Prior to the May board meeting and following the recommendation from the Physical Plant and Campus Planning Committee (PPCPC), the Executive Committee of the board approved funding from the College’s Renewal and Replacement Reserve (RRR) program budget to make repairs to the waterproofing and repair damage caused by flooding in the Jacobs Keck Science Center mentioned in our previous update to the community. At this stage, contractors have excavated and shored up the building and applied new waterproofing. Work will continue over the summer with plans to have the repairs completed by the fall semester. The PPCPC also approved allocating renewal funds for emergency repairs to the South Residence Hall HVAC system that were completed during spring break. 

The PPCPC approved replacing the dishwasher in the Hoch Shanahan Dining Commons given its age and the additional wear and tear from added crossover dining among students from the other undergraduate colleges. The replacement unit will have greater capacity, and the project will be completed this summer. 

The PPCPC approved spending RRR funds to refurbish the older two of the three cooling towers in the Libra Complex Central Plant. This includes replacing the fill media, nozzles and drift eliminators as well as applying a polyurea coating to extend the towers’ longevity. Given the high use of the towers in the summer months, work is expected to begin on this project this winter. 

The PPCPC approved spending RRR funds to design and install some temporary metering in advance of developing engineered drawings to replace the automation controls in the Libra Complex Central Plant in order to optimize the operation of equipment and conserve energy. 

Trustee Actions

The board approved several recommendations for renewal of trustees and appointment of new board members. Unless otherwise noted, these actions are effective July 1, 2023. 

Trustees Howard Deshong ’89 P22, Matthew Ferri, Mar Hershenson P24, Laura Larson P20, Allan Leinwand P27, Tyler Mingst P22 and Michael Schubmehl ’02 were reelected for three-year terms.

Murray Goldberg was elected to rejoin the board after serving as advisory trustee. Bruce Worster ’64 was elected to rejoin the board effective May 12, after serving as an advisory trustee.

Gregory Rae ’00, as immediate past president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors (AABOG), was elected to serve as the alumni representative to the board, replacing Dee West ’65 P92/93, who previously served in that capacity. We thank Greg for agreeing to return to the board, and we express our gratitude to Dee for his outstanding service on behalf of our alumni.

Kacyn Fuji ’13 was selected as the new recent graduate trustee to serve on the board, replacing Shaun Pacheco ’12, who will step down on June 30 after serving in that role. We are grateful to Kacyn for agreeing to join the board, and we thank Shaun for his outstanding service. 

Rachel Beda ’97, Oliver Kwan and Ramona Sequeria P23 are rotating off the board as their terms are ending. We thank them for their service to our students, faculty and staff and look forward to their continued support of our students, faculty and staff in the years to come. 

Finally, the board elected Amyn Rajan P27, CEO Strategy Coach of Rajan Holdings, and Pat Copeland P27, Chief Engineering Officer with Zendesk, to serve as trustees. We thank Rajan and Pat for agreeing to serve on the board, and we welcome them and their families to the Harvey Mudd College community. 

The board approved the 2023-2024 operating budget.

Faculty Actions

Upon recommendation of the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC), the board granted tenure to Erin Talvitie, associate professor of computer science. 

The AAC approved the promotion of Lelia Hawkins (Hixon Center for Climate and the Environment), Mohamed Omar (Mathematics), Katherine Van Heuvelen (Chemistry), and Ben Wiedermann (Computer Science) to the rank of full professor. 

The AAC approved the renewals for second, two-year appointments for assistant professors Joshua Brake (Engineering), Steven Santana ’06 (Engineering) and Xanda Schofield ’13 (Computer Science).

All faculty actions above are effective July 1. The board congratulates these faculty members and thanks them for their continued service to the College.

Last February, Vice Chair of the Board Laura Larson P20 and I reached out to the trustees for ideas on how to honor Maria’s extraordinary tenure leading Harvey Mudd College. Overwhelmingly, trustees agreed to endow a scholarship in Maria’s name. During the weekend, we announced that about 70% of the current trustees had made pledges to the endowed scholarship totaling $586,000. Following the weekend, Advancement will operationalize the giving opportunity by formalizing the gift agreement for the scholarship and by providing a chance for the broader HMC community to make contributions to augment the fund. The College will share more information about this opportunity and how you can support this new endowed scholarship in the coming weeks as details are finalized.

In addition, Trustee Mike Curtis chose to fully endow the Maria M. Klawe Professor of Climate and Computer Science in the Hixon Center for Climate and the Environment (HCCE). This endowed chair for the Hixon Center will be used for various expenses within the Center, including but not limited to faculty salary, research and programmatic support. This is a truly amazing gift from Mike to thank and honor Maria for her impact at HMC, and we thank him for his support of Harvey Mudd College and the work of the HCCE. 

Finally, trustees also read a resolution of appreciation for Maria and named her President Emerita and Trustee Emerita. It was truly a wonderful time to reflect and celebrate all that we have accomplished during her presidency. 

In closing, we finished our weekend celebrating the College’s 65th Commencement and all the wonderful accomplishments of the Harvey Mudd College Class of 2023. As we pause to recognize our graduates and celebrate all that we have accomplished together, we take inspiration from the words of our Commencement speaker, Tech entrepreneur Michael Ellison, who challenged us to “think bigger, dream bolder,” and to “have the courage to be audacious.” As we prepare to welcome the College’s sixth president, Harriet Nembhard, when she begins her role July 1, we look ahead to exciting opportunities for our College community to do just that. 


Jim Bean ’77
Chair, Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees