A Spring Semester Update from President McClymond

Dear Oglethorpe Alumni,

The Spring Semester is quickly coming to an end here on campus, and it’s time for one final update to alumni before Commencement. I enjoyed meeting so many of you on campus during Alumni Weekend, especially at the Petrels with the President session.  I understand that schedules and travel sometimes impact alumni getting back to campus for events like these, and that’s why I’m committed to sharing these regular updates with you.

In a recent Town Hall meeting with faculty and staff, which followed our April Board of Trustees meeting, I reflected on how far we have come since this time last year. Thank you for your support through the season of transition. I have enjoyed engaging with you throughout the last year and am deeply grateful for your loyalty to Oglethorpe. It’s because of your efforts and your support that we have fully transitioned into a new and exciting future at Oglethorpe, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

You’ll recall that we’ve recently announced two new members of the Senior Administrative Leadership Team.  I am thrilled to have our new Vice President of Advancement Sarah Emerson and our new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Gabriel Barreneche joining the Oglethorpe community. Dr. Barreneche will join us officially on July 1. Sarah began her work last month and has already hit the ground running.  If you didn’t have an opportunity to meet Sarah at Alumni Weekend, I hope you have that opportunity soon. I know that each of these exceptional leaders will make a tremendous impact.

The Board meeting arrived at the three-quarter mark in the year, not technically the end, and our financial reporting presented numbers as of the end of March. We still have almost two full months left in our fiscal year, and there is a heavy lift in student recruitment and Advancement in the last remaining weeks before June 30. If you have not yet made a gift to Oglethorpe this fiscal year, I hope you will consider doing so before the end of June.

Our financial position remains healthy as we work to be fiscally responsible in our spending. We recently achieved a milestone when the university’s endowment exceeded $50 million for the first time in our history, and we continue to celebrate the reduction in our long-term debt.

The Board, as well as members of our community, have been paying close attention to the national news of colleges forced to close, including most recently Birmingham-Southern College. I’ve shared with the trustees, and with our faculty and staff, that Oglethorpe has several distinct advantages over BSC in our fiscal management: revenue is growing, debt is decreasing, the endowment is expanding, and we are drawing less from the endowment each year as we rely on revenue from operations. We will remain vigilant and responsible in our spending going into the next year.

Our revenue projections for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, are dependent on our total enrollment. Our first-year student recruitment continues to be a priority even in the face of ongoing challenges created by the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) update by the Department of Education. We are currently ahead of last year in every statistical category of recruitment except deposits. We believe this is a direct result of the lag in families filing the FAFSA, and the Office of Enrollment Management is doing everything possible to address the real problems and concerns raised by the FAFSA changes.

Looking ahead to the fall semester, be sure to mark your calendar for the big, university-wide celebration Sept. 19-20 for the Presidential Inauguration. In addition to the investiture ceremony, there will be service projects, special academic events, and a post-ceremony meal together. I hope to see many alumni back on campus to be part of this special university milestone.

We are making progress on our vision of being known as Atlanta’s premiere undergraduate learning experience. Thank you for all the ways you contribute to making it a reality, and I hope to see you back at Oglethorpe in the near future.


Kathryn McClymond, PhD (she, her)
President, Oglethorpe University