by Liz Garrigan
An article in today's Wall Street Journal described the changing nature of corporate governance in higher education and featured Vanderbilt University as a case study. While the article pointed out just a few of the many exciting things that are happening at our University, I am writing to let you know that the Journal's report on this important issue presented an incomplete portrait of Vanderbilt.
We have created a website to address the specific issues raised in the Wall Street Journal's article: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/wsj. There, you can find detailed information - all of which was provided to the newspaper during the reporting process - as well as a summary of Vanderbilt's accomplishments over the past six years.
I want to assure you that Vanderbilt is as committed to excellence in governance as we are to excellence in education, research, and public service. Over the past year, the Vanderbilt Board of Trust has undertaken a thorough review of institutional governance to ensure that we are following the best practices that are being adopted in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. As a result, we have instituted a range of reforms designed to update what had been, in some cases, either outdated or nonexistent processes. With these changes, we are confident that Vanderbilt is, and will continue to be, a leader in addressing the sometimes difficult challenges of governance in a complex and dynamic environment.
By every measure, Vanderbilt is one of the world's most important higher education institutions. Our success in reaching very ambitious goals in education, research, diversity, fundraising, service to the community, and financial stability is indisputable. One only has to look at the quality and satisfaction of our students, faculty, staff, patients, and alumni to see that Vanderbilt is stronger and more confident than ever before.
This progress can be attributed to several factors: sound leadership from the Board of Trust; innovative management; the tremendously creative energies of dynamic faculty, staff and students; and the loyalty, passion, and support of alumni and friends around the world.
I am proud of Vanderbilt's progress and growth in recent years.
Our investments in students, faculty, facilities, and programs have brought tremendous dividends to the University. We will surpass the $1.25 billion goal of our "Shape the Future" Campaign two years ahead of schedule, with a principal result of ensuring that a Vanderbilt education will be possible for the best and brightest students regardless of their ability to pay. And, we are equally enthusiastic about initiatives such as The Commons, perhaps the most comprehensive first-year experience for students, the Academic Venture Capital Fund that has spawned new research centers, and our expanded hospital.
Our results are obvious and our methods sound.
I thank you for your commitment to Vanderbilt, and I welcome you comments, questions, and thoughts.