This selection of messages sent by President Daniel R. Porterfield to members of the Franklin & Marshall College community reflects engagement with faculty, professional staff, students, parents and alumni on a wide range of issues of interest to members of the F&M family.
President Porterfield sent this message on April 16, 2013
Dear Members of the College Community:
The Franklin & Marshall community's hearts go out to the victims of yesterday's violence in Boston, to their loved ones, and to all who are experiencing feelings of shock and grief. We are a very strong community, and I know we will help one another by being especially kind and caring in the days and weeks ahead.
Students, if you need support, please reach out to a Dean, a Don, a professor, a coach, or a friend. In addition to the strength and comfort of our community, Franklin & Marshall has professional resources available to help us cope with distressing events like these. If you would like to talk with a member of Counseling Services, please call them at 717-291-4083—after business hours, this number will connect you to the on-call counselor. In addition, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life is available at 717-358-5814 and will hold a Gathering for Comfort and Peace in Nevin Chapel in Old Main from 9:00-10:00 p.m. this evening.
Thank you for your care and support of one another in the aftermath of this tragedy.
President Porterfield sent this message on April 15, 2013
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community:
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Margaret Hazlett to serve as Franklin & Marshall's next Dean of the College, beginning in early July.
Dean Hazlett is currently the senior associate dean of student affairs at Bowdoin College, and she brings to F&M a true commitment to the full development of students, and insights from more than 15 years in leadership in student life at Bowdoin.
In the lower half of this email, I am sharing with you the public announcement about Dean Hazlett's appointment that will go on the F&M homepage later this afternoon. It includes details about her extensive experience and her comments expressing enthusiasm for joining our community.
Dean Hazlett is an outstanding leader with a keen intellect and a passion for promoting student learning. I couldn’t be more excited about a new colleague joining our community.
I would like to thank the Search Committee for its outstanding work recruiting Dean Hazlett from a national pool of candidates. The search committee was chaired by Chief of Staff Samuel Houser and included Director of Counseling Services Christine Conway; Associate Professor of Astronomy Froney Crawford; Professor of Government and Don of New College House Dean Hammer; Mark Harmon-Vaught '15; Argemira Florez '13; Associate Professor of American Studies and Women & Gender Studies Alison Kibler; Vice President Daniel Lugo; Vice President David Proulx; Provost Ann Steiner; and Head Men's Soccer Coach and Coordinator of Athletic Development Dan Wagner. I also appreciate the participation of the many faculty, professional staff, students and trustees whom we engaged in this process.
In addition, I'd like to express deep appreciation to Dean of the College Kent Trachte for his 10 years of dedicated service as Dean of the College and his 24 years serving F&M. We wish him every success as he transitions into the role of President of Lycoming College.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on February 5, 2013
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community,
Last semester, students at various colleges and universities began taking part in a campaign that calls for colleges and universities to divest endowment funds from 200 fossil fuel companies. At the end of last semester I received a petition signed by some students, faculty and professional staff requesting that Franklin & Marshall College join this campaign and implement divestment.
For a variety of reasons, F&M is among the vast majority of colleges and universities that face real constraints to our ability to adopt this approach as part of our deep and evolving commitment to promoting sustainable practices. With this letter, I would like to provide an overview of some of the new and serious ways that F&M is promoting sustainability, and also explain why the size, function and management of our endowment limits our ability to select or de-select investments in particular companies as part of a divestment campaign for this or any other issue.
First, I want to commend the students for their passionate commitment to sustainability, which will continue to be a defining issue throughout our lifetimes. As many of you know, earlier this year the College adopted F&M's first comprehensive Sustainability Master Plan, endorsed by the faculty and approved by the College's Board of Trustees. The plan articulates and commits to sustainable practices in nine areas: energy efficiency; water conservation; sustainable building; transportation management; the campus food system, reducing solid waste; stewarding the campus landscape; procurement; and education and outreach.
F&M always has been very strong in research and teaching in environmental science and environmental studies, and The Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment for years has been providing forums for environmental education, and taking action on issues of conservation and preservation. These commitments, of course, are sustained in part by the returns from our endowment.
The Sustainability Plan also marks another milestone in the College's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, which became a formal institutional priority in 2007, when Franklin & Marshall became a founding signatory to the "American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment." Among other efforts, F&M in 2011 became the first retail customer in Pennsylvania to commit to buying renewable energy credits (an investment in green energy) from the Keystone Solar Project. And also in 2011, the College made a new endowment allocation to a fund that invests a portion of its capital in wind power.
F&M's Approach to Endowment Management
The purpose of F&M's endowment (which at about $300 million stands 41st among the country's top 50 liberal arts colleges), is to generate a predictable, sustainable flow of funds to support the College's educational mission and operations, thus supporting academic excellence and helping contain tuition growth. It provides the College with approximately $15 million per year to help operate the college and subsidize the cost of attendance. Investment policy for the endowment is determined by the Board of Trustees, which has fiduciary responsibility for the institution, and executed by our Investment Officer and Assistant Treasurer Elizabeth Dunlap.
As we prepare to enter a capital campaign to grow our endowment, it is vital that supporters of the College have the assurance that F&M will steward their generous gifts with a commitment to providing enduring support for our educational mission.
And so, directed by our Board of Trustees, F&M allocates resources to a set of "commingled" funds run by external asset managers. These funds pool the resources of multiple investors to achieve returns from stocks, bonds and other investments. The funds reflect the importance of a diversified investment portfolio to mitigate risk. F&M does not invest directly in individual companies, which is consistent with the practices of the vast majority of higher education institutions that do not have extremely large endowments.
Given the structure of F&M's endowment portfolio, it is not possible to provide an exact amount invested in the 200 companies identified in the fossil fuels divestment campaign. However, the Investment Office canvased our fund managers and learned that about 2 percent of the endowment at that time (recognizing that allocations fluctuate continually) was invested through commingled funds in the companies referenced in the petition.
While the structure of contemporary higher education investment practice limits our ability to dictate to fund managers how they must invest, the trustees are certainly committed to exploring socially conscious investment strategies within the framework of meeting the investment objectives, including ensuring the endowment's long-term growth.
As part of this approach, I'm pleased that this semester, F&M's Investment Office, led by Ms. Dunlap, is supporting three student interns as they evaluate initiatives related to socially conscious investing. The students are focusing on assessing the feasibility of creating an all-green investment program for an endowed fund to support campus environmental sustainability efforts, and they are studying the feasibility of a student-run micro finance fund to provide seed money for entrepreneurship in Lancaster. These internships provide an opportunity for students to engage in research that supports the College's commitment to environmental stewardship and our local community while supporting our financial sustainability for current and future generations of students.
The College's Investment Office is planning a panel discussion with the campus community and alumni to allow the student interns to share their research upon significant completion of their work. I encourage all members of our community to feel welcome to take part in this important discussion.
The work of our Investment Office and also the work of our Sustainability Committee demonstrate our enduring commitment to engaging questions of sustainability to ensure that the way we teach and learn reflects our values every day.
Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D.
President Porterfield sent this message on December 18, 2012
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community:
As the semester draws to a close, I am writing to share my thoughts on two important items—the structure of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty position and my selection of the Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty for the 2013-2014 academic year.
First, at the December 4th faculty meeting, we learned that a straw poll indicated broad faculty support for a Provost’s Office model retaining the current Provost and Dean of the Faculty position and redistributing some responsibilities to the Associate Deans. I am delighted to accept the recommendation to adopt this model, which has numerous advantages for Franklin & Marshall. Through it, we will maintain a set of commitments central to the College’s academic mission while reviewing the work that has accumulated in the Provost’s Office over the years as the faculty and the College as a whole have grown. We will also be able to prioritize that work and distribute it in a way that gives the Provost the essential ability to engage in institutional planning while maintaining strong engagement with the faculty. It will be a pleasure to develop the role in partnership with the faculty and the Provost’s Office, as well as Ann Steiner and the Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty in the year to come.
Second, last week, I received guidance from the Interim Provost Advisory Committee (IPAC) regarding candidates to become Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty. In light of these carefully considered thoughts, I interviewed all of the candidates. After weighing IPAC’s guidance and reviewing the interviews, I am pleased to let you know Joseph Karlesky, John C. and Katherine S. Kunkel Professor of Government, has accepted my offer to serve. I am confident Joe will be an outstanding leader and partner for the faculty and the entire campus community in a year during which we have much important work to do. Joe, whose academic specialty is American politics and public policy, brings four decades of service on the faculty to the interim position, including service as Associate Dean of the Faculty; Chair of both Faculty Council and the Budget Priorities Committee; department chair; and a member of the Professional Standards Committee. In addition to leading the work described above, Joe will help shepherd the curricular and governance reviews and prepare us to recruit an outstanding new Provost and Dean of the Faculty to be seated on or around July 1, 2014. Please join me in congratulating Joe on his new role and thanking him for lending his leadership and experience to the service of the College.
There are many colleagues to thank for their outstanding work. First, I am grateful to the candidates for Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty. To a person, they are impressive—highly professional, thoughtful, accomplished, and deeply committed to this community. I also thank Faculty Council and the Professional Standards Committee, which in spring and summer of 2012 developed the two tracks of work that lead to today’s announcement—one focused on the review of faculty governance under the Faculty Governance Task Force, and one focused specifically on the Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty position under the leadership of IPAC. The Faculty Governance Task Force has a great deal of important work ahead, while the IPAC can look back with satisfaction on a job well done. All of these faculty committees deserve our collective institutional gratitude for their excellent judgment and commitment to Franklin & Marshall. The membership of each is listed after my signature to this message.
This process has worked exceedingly well and demonstrated the power of shared governance. Our success during a very busy semester speaks highly of Franklin & Marshall’s ability to handle complex issues effectively, thoughtfully and collegially.
Please accept my best wishes for a happy, peaceful and safe winter break.
Members of Faculty Council: Jennifer Redmann, Maria Mitchell, Andy de Wet, Fred Owens, Pam Vail
Professional Standards Committee: Amelia Rauser, Doug Anthony, Ed Fenlon, Andrea Lommen, Nick Montemarano
Faculty Governance Review Task Force: Matt Hoffman, Judith Mueller, Bob Friedrich, Ken Krebs, Joel Eigen
Interim Provost Advisory Committee: Scott Lerner, Stephen Medvic, Ken Hess, Lisa Gasbarrone, Jana Iyengar, Mark Olson
President Porterfield sent this message on December 16, 2012
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community:
I write to you at a time of national mourning.
As the semester comes to an end in what should be a season of joy, each of us instead must contend with the unfathomable tragedy that took place Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In the coming days and weeks, we will learn about the lives of the precious children and the educators who were taken from their loved ones and this world. Already we have learned that there are members of our F&M community who are grieving for victims of this atrocity, or who live in or near the community where the killings occurred.
I know I speak for the entire F&M community in saying that we stand in solidarity with all who died and all who are suffering. Our campus flag is flying at half-mast to symbolize our empathy and sense of communal loss. No person or community should have to endure wanton violence or the feelings of powerlessness that such crimes create. Many of us also now have the responsibility of trying to discuss the shootings with young children without destroying their sense of personal security and goodness in the world.
As the details of the tragedy continue to emerge, many of us will experience strong feelings of sadness or outrage about the crime. In the immediate moment, we can help each other by being responsive to each other's needs and being kind to one another and all whom we encounter. The resources of our Counseling Center and the Chaplain's Office are available for students and colleagues, as are, for students, the resources of our College House communities.
Looking forward, next semester may present us with opportunities to express our support for the victims of this tragedy and to discuss the larger issue of gun violence in America. I would like to encourage all who study or work at F&M to consider whether there's a valuable event or activity that might be organized within your particular campus community.
Thank you for caring for one another and the many communities that we touch. I hope that the holiday season and the start of the new year are deeply renewing for you.
All the best, and safe travels,
President Porterfield sent this message on November 19, 2012
Earlier today, Dean Trachte let you know that he has accepted a position to lead Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, as its 15th president.
This exciting news provides an opportunity to thank Dean Trachte for the 24 years he has dedicated to Franklin & Marshall College. In addition to his important contributions to the development of the College House system, athletic leadership initiatives, and fostering student success and post-graduate development, F&M will benefit for years to come from Dean Trachte's efforts overseeing the College's work in counseling, student health, student leadership development, Greek life, athletics, student spiritual and religious life, and off-campus life.
Dean Trachte will remain at F&M through the end of the academic year while a search committee chaired by our chief of staff, Dr. Sam Houser, and including faculty, professional staff and two students, works with me to recruit our new Dean of the College.
I am confident that we will recruit a new Dean of the College who will build upon our tradition of educational excellence in all that we do. Please join me in thanking and congratulating Dean Trachte.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on November 19, 2012
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff:
I am writing to let you know that Kent Trachte has been selected by Lycoming College's Board of Trustees as the College's 15th president. Please join me in congratulating Kent, who will be a tremendous leader for the historic four-year residential college dedicated to the liberal arts and sciences in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Kent will begin his position at Lycoming July 1 and will continue at F&M through the end of this academic year. His appointment was announced by the chair of Lycoming's Board of Trustees earlier this morning.
This news provides another opportunity to thank Kent for the 24 years he has dedicated to Franklin & Marshall. He came to F&M as Dean of Freshmen, committing himself early to working with members of the faculty to create the first-year residential seminar program. Since becoming Dean of the College in 2003, he has led several important strategic initiatives, including development of the College House system, re-recognition of Greek organizations, building support for Shadek Stadium, and recent initiatives to strengthen programs fostering student success and support for students and young alumni in their chosen paths after graduation.
F&M will benefit for years to come from Kent's work in these areas, as well as his efforts overseeing the College's work in counseling, student health, student leadership development, athletics, student spiritual and religious life, and off-campus life. He has played an important role in building the transformational residential college experience that F&M offers our students.
A committee chaired by Chief of Staff Sam Houser and including Professor of Classics and Government and Don of New College House Dean Hammer, Associate Professor of American Studies and Women's & Gender Studies Alison Kibler and Associate Professor of Astronomy Froney Crawford has been conducting a search for Kent's successor since early fall. The College has retained executive search firm Storbeck Pimentel, which knows F&M very well.
I am confident that we will recruit an outstanding new Dean of the College who will build on the firm foundation of Kent's work. Please join me again in thanking and congratulating him for his numerous efforts to advance Franklin & Marshall College.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on October 31, 2012
Dear Students, Faculty and Professional Staff,
Thank you all for your many efforts to keep our campus community safe during Hurricane Sandy over the past several days. I am very proud of our students, who heeded instructions about how to remain secure and rode out the storm safely, catching up on coursework, getting ready for spring semester preregistration and eating together in the dining hall. Thank you very much for your cooperation and patience during these challenging few days.
I also appreciate the faculty’s flexibility concerning the cancelling of classes at a busy point in the semester. I am especially grateful to the professional staff in Facilities and Operations, Public Safety, Sodexo, our Libraries, the Steinman College Center, the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center, our College Houses, Appel Health Center and Communications, as well as to the members of the Crisis Management Team who worked together to ensure that our students were safe and well fed during the storm and that there was minimal damage to our buildings and grounds.
We feel fortunate to have escaped the worst of this historic storm, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those in areas that are so badly affected. I know that many of us may have family members and friends who are facing serious challenges in the aftermath of the storm, and some of our students and colleagues may still be making their way back to campus. In the coming days, I ask that we all take good care of one another and remain sensitive and responsive to the needs of individual students and colleagues.
Thank you all once again for your efforts during the storm and your compassion for those harmed by it. We are fortunate to be part of such a supportive and caring community.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on September 24, 2012
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff,
As I promised at the start of the semester, I write with further information about the process through which we will establish F&M’s strategic priorities for the coming years.
We aim to craft a set of strategic priorities that will steer our efforts to:
It is vital that faculty and professional staff, along with students, alumni, and parents, have the opportunity to help shape these strategic priorities. I have convened a Strategic Planning Steering Committee this fall and have charged this group with crafting a planning process that is inclusive and will enable the College to bring a strategic plan for ratification by the Board of Trustees in June 2013.
You will be hearing from the Steering Committee soon about how you can get involved in this important process. They plan to hold a series of initial open meetings for faculty and professional staff to discuss specific areas of F&M’s work in late October and November.
You can learn more about the Committee and its ongoing work at:
In the meantime, let me extend warm thanks to this group of faculty and professional staff—with student and Alumni Board representatives yet to be named—who have agreed to take up this task.
I look forward to engaging in a campus-wide conversation with all of you this year about F&M’s priorities and strategic direction.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on September 20, 2012
Please join me in welcoming American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow Noah Pickus, Ph.D., to the Franklin & Marshall community. The prestigious ACE Fellows program—the longest running leadership development program in the United States—identifies and prepares senior leadership for the nation’s colleges and universities while allowing colleges and universities to address specific one-time needs at minimal cost.
During the course of his one-year fellowship, Dr. Pickus will work with me and the senior administration to support F&M’s yearlong strategic planning process. He will also collaborate with a range of colleagues across campus to explore how F&M might maximize the educational value of our community engagement programs for our students.
Dr. Pickus is the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics (KIE) at Duke University and Associate Research Professor in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. At KIE, one of seven university-wide interdisciplinary institutes, Dr. Pickus implemented a new strategic plan that defined core areas of interdisciplinary concentration, launched a university-wide ethics certificate program and a first-year cluster on global citizenship, and created pre-matriculation, co-curricular and international service programs for undergraduates. He teaches courses on ethics and public policy as well as on immigration and citizenship, and is the faculty advisor for the Duke Honor Council and the Duke Triathlon Club.
Dr. Pickus conducts research on questions of citizenship and nationalism, especially in the context of immigration policy, and on issues of ethics and civic engagement. He co-directed the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable and has advised the Department of Homeland Security and other public and private organizations dealing with immigration and integration policy. Dr. Pickus received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, his B.A. from Wesleyan University, and has held fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the A.W. Mellon Foundation, and the H.B. Earhart Foundation. Prior to joining the Kenan Institute, he was the founding director of the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University and a faculty member at Duke and at Middlebury College.
We are fortunate to have such an accomplished scholar and administrator joining our learning community this year. I hope that many of you will have the opportunity to get to know Dr. Pickus in the months ahead, and know that all of you will join me in extending a warm Franklin & Marshall welcome.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on September 10, 2012
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff:
A short while ago, Kent Trachte sent you an email letting you know about his plans to complete his service as Dean of the College at the end of the academic year and assume in 2013-14 the new role of Senior Counselor to the President. Those of you at tonight’s faculty meeting also had an opportunity to hear from Kent in person.
I would like to recognize Kent for his leadership on important strategic initiatives, including development of the College House system and re-recognition of Greek organizations. He has overseen our work in counseling, student health, student leadership development, athletics, student spiritual and religious life, and off-campus life. Kent has handled this varied and intensely demanding portfolio with distinction, and his successes are numerous. Please join me in thanking and congratulating him heartily for the wonderful work he has done and will continue to do to advance Franklin & Marshall College.
Kent’s work in the new position, effective July 1, 2013, will help us maintain our leadership in providing a transformational undergraduate experience. He will help us foster student success in and out of the classroom and deepen programs that support students and young alumni as they pursue their goals after graduation. He will also continue to support our efforts in civic engagement and help secure philanthropic investment in Shadek Stadium. I am eager to work with Kent in his new role.
In the coming weeks, I look forward to updating you on how the search for our new Dean of the College is taking shape. I have asked our chief of staff, Sam Houser, to chair that search and lead the process of assembling a search committee. We plan to retain the firm Storbeck Pimentel to assist us with candidate recruitment. Storbeck Pimentel knows Franklin & Marshall very well, and with their help we will recruit an outstanding new Dean of the College—a position that will be all the more attractive because of the work Kent has done and continues to do.
Thank you to Kent and to all of you who have been, and will continue to be, his partners in outstanding work.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on August 28, 2012
Welcome back! I hope that Summer 2012 was productive and relaxing and that all of you join me in looking forward to what promises to be an energizing year. I want to give a special welcome to the newest members of our community, and I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the sophomores, juniors and seniors who have done so much already to make our incoming students feel welcome.
Earlier today we held our Convocation to formally introduce our new students to the opportunities and responsibilities of College life. Highlights of the ceremony appear on the College's home page (www.fandm.edu). We took the occasion to spotlight the remarkable leadership of one of our most respected alumni, the late Maj. Richard Winters '41, who was the central figure in the book and the award-winning TV miniseries "Band of Brothers." Maj. Winters' extraordinary leadership during World War II was recognized this summer when he became one of very few soldiers recognized at Normandy with a statue bearing his name and likeness.
I was honored to be able to deliver remarks that day celebrating his contributions. You'll find them at this link: www.fandm.edu/president/speeches-and-addresses/honoring-the-leadership-of-maj-dick-winters-41. I encourage you to learn more about Maj. Winters and the remarkable legacy that he leaves to us as stewards of the values and qualities of Franklin & Marshall College.
I also encourage you to join the College this year in celebrating a significant milestone. As you have noticed from the banners adorning the campus, this year we commemorate 225 years since the first class of students began their studies at the College that would become F&M.
An anniversary planning committee of students, faculty and professional staff established "Beyond 225: Inspired for Life" as the theme of the 225th celebration, and it truly encourages all of us to think about how we can learn and grow beyond what we can even imagine today. A calendar of events (at www.fandm.edu/225) will bring together students, alumni, faculty, professional staff, families and friends throughout the year, and I hope you will join in the festivities honoring F&M's history, present and future.
Best wishes for a tremendous academic year.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on July 20, 2012
Dear Franklin & Marshall Community:
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew K. Eynon to serve as Vice President for College Advancement, effective early this fall. Currently associate vice president for capital giving at Boston College, Matthew brings to F&M outstanding advancement expertise and experience, strategic vision and strong leadership. His exceptional record of building relationships with a wide range of constituencies, especially alumni, and passionate commitment to the liberal arts make him ideally suited to lead our efforts in Advancement.
Matthew is a member of the senior leadership team charged with advancement strategy in Boston College's current $1.5 billion capital campaign, and before beginning his current role in 2011, he served for four years as associate vice president for annual giving at Boston College.
Matthew previously served as assistant vice president for advancement at Suffolk University in Boston, and earlier in his career, Matthew served in several leadership roles at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, culminating in his appointment as the institution's chief advancement officer in 2002.
A full announcement about Matthew's appointment is posted on the College website.
I would like to thank the Search Committee, which was chaired by Chief of Staff Samuel Houser and included Board Chair Larry Bonchek, Vice President for Finance and Administration David Proulx, and Alumni Board President Dave Taylor '81, for its outstanding work in recruiting Matthew from a national pool of candidates. Also, please join me in extending great appreciation to Executive Assistant to the President Robyn Piggott who has provided very effective hands-on interim leadership of Advancement for the past four months, and to our entire Advancement team.
Matthew and his wife, Michele, have two children, Samantha and Tayler. Please join me in welcoming Matthew and his family to the Franklin & Marshall community this fall.
Daniel Porterfield, Ph.D.