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President's Fall 2007 Report to the Board of Regents

In the year 2000, the University of the Pacific began the silent portion of the campaign later launched as "Investing in Excellence - The Campaign for Pacific." Seven years and $330 million later, it is still helpful to ask the question, what are our goals and aspirations for excellence in delivering university level education, and what has the campaign meant in terms of our achievement of those goals?

Some Board members were engaged in the work of the National Commission in 2000-01. This group of nearly 300 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Pacific looked at every academic area, our student life programs, and structural and organizational aspects of Pacific to ask the question, "How do we define the next level of excellence and how do we reach it?" Out of that effort grew many recommendations for both foundational and aspirational goals that the Board wrestled with as we developed specific objectives for the campaign. The Commission, populated with individuals with experience both within and outside Pacific, helped us to see the gaps between where we were at that time and where needed to go in order to make bold but real statements about our quality, our distinctiveness, and our ability to attract and retain the best students and most talented faculty.

We realized that we needed an infusion of scholarship funds to ensure access for the most talented students. We realized that our academic programs needed resources for program development, innovation, and constant renewal to achieve higher quality, reach globally, and attain national recognition. We needed an endowment that would make the University less tuition-dependent. We realized that our facilities were not of sufficient quality to offer the high level of health, natural sciences, humanities, or music programs necessary to rank with the best universities and colleges and that our library facilities needed upgrading as well. We realized that our recreational facilities, university center, dining facilities, and residence halls hadn't kept pace with what the best, most distinctive universities offered.

As a result, we set rather ambitious endowment and facilities goals for the campaign, goals inspired by the National Commission, endorsed by the Board, and aligned with our desire to become the West's most distinctive, student-centered national university. We have remained committed to these goals, even when feasibility studies might have persuaded us to set more modest targets.

So what have we achieved? The question would have been easy to answer a year ago, when - in July 2006 - we surpassed our $200 million campaign goal one year early and had brought our total endowment - by June 2006 - to $195.7 million. These were healthy amounts for a university that raised $77 million in its last campaign. But we could still ask, what kind of endowment do the top tier universities have? How do we get there, what goal is realistic for the University of the Pacific?

Bob and Jeannette Powell's gift has made those questions even more important for us. Their transformative gift, which, in a single day, increased our fundraising total by nearly 50%, challenges us to work even harder to become the top tier, distinctive university we know Pacific can be. That's what Pacific Rising is all about - striving for innovation and distinctiveness in ways that are uniquely Pacific.

It was critical for us during these last seven years to continue to set goals just beyond our reach, to aim higher and higher, so that we would never become complacent in our search for excellence. We now celebrate the gifts of over 23,000 individuals, both large and small, all of which have moved the University along the continuum from good to great, and great to greater. But in establishing our goals for the future, we must continue to set the bar for performance even higher. I know that you as well as Pacific students and alumni will expect nothing less than that.

My goals for the 2007-08 year are as follows:

  • Implement a comprehensive plan for undergraduate admissions to ensure growth and strengthen geographic diversity; incorporate into the admissions process the assessment of emotional and social intelligence
  • Continue to build more distinctive academic programs through selected innovation initiatives
  • Begin to infuse concepts of emotional and social intelligence into the curriculum in targeted areas and in student development and leadership initiatives on all three campuses
  • Complete planning for the first Powell Fund initiatives
  • Continue to work toward enhancing the visibility of the University through marketing initiatives and personal outreach to alumni and friends
  • Successfully complete the Biological Sciences Center and University Center
  • Continue to strengthen the Board with the addition of two to three new members