Dear Friends of Oswego State,
A new academic year is under way on our lakeside campus. This is always a time of enthusiasm and hope, but especially this year when our college has just been reaccredited with commendations. In the af-termath of 9/11 and the blow it dealt our state, this will be a challenging year financially, but we have al-ready had occasion to see how our friends can lend a hand in this regard. Allow me to share some of this good news with you.
First, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education conducted its review of Oswego State last year and in July confirmed our reaccreditation for the next 10 years. We received a positive report highlighted by two commendations, which the commission does not bestow lightly. They recognized our programs for first-year students and our scholarships to support study abroad. In recent years, we have developed a whole portfolio of programs to support first-year students as central to our vision of a learner-centered campus. International education, long a strength at Oswego, has been enriched by the addition of scholar-ship opportunities. We are of course delighted to see our work in these areas receive these endorsements.
Second, the enormous generosity of the late Professor Girgis Ghobrial recently brought us the largest gift in the college's history. His bequest will exceed $1 million. As many of you know, Dr. Ghobrial was a generous donor during his lifetime as well. His last and largest gift is a remarkable act of love that will fund scholarships for generations of future students. He was the leader in a strong giving year: Alumni gifts rose 21 percent. The Oswego College Foundation's year-end report this summer showed gifts and multi-year pledges of $2.4 million, an all-time high.
Finally, some not-so-good news. Oswego faces a budget gap of more than $2 million this year. Although the initial state operating budget of $43.77 million for Oswego was up about a half a percentage point over last year's base budget, negative adjustments and new obligations have left us with a of 4.54 percent shortfall. In anticipation of short funds following 9/11, we planned across-the-board savings of 2 percent for this year, and we have made up the difference with increased student fees and institutional reserves. Aided by the state's early retirement program, we will accrue most savings by not filling selected posi-tions that become vacant. Our enrollment this fall is shaping up to be the highest since 1993 — a boon in tuition revenue, but an added stress on a workforce that cannot grow to accommodate increased student demand readily.
We are fully engaged in the work before us, exhilarated by the generous sunlight amid the thunderclouds. We appreciate your support of our college now more than ever.
Deborah F. Stanley