Chairman Kraemer comments on recent board of trustees meeting

Amy Sandquist

Lawrence’s board of trustees met for its first general meeting of the 2009-2010 year Thursday, Oct. 22 to Sunday, Oct. 25. General meetings of the board of trustees are scheduled once per term.
According to board chair Harry Kraemer ’77, the fall meeting was fairly usual. The board discussed the start of the school year and the positive changes that the Warch Campus Center has brought to Lawrence. Kraemer praised the Boldt Company, commenting on how rarely construction projects finish on time and under budget, as the campus center did, and he emphasized that the funds needed for building the campus center have all been raised.
During the meeting, the board of trustees analyzed the economic state of the college. Kraemer commented that the administration is doing a good job in combating the tough economic times.
Kraemer denied rumors that the board of trustees met to close the university based on the spread of H1N1, an issue addressed by Dean of the Conservatory Brian Pertl in a series of fliers posted around the conservatory this week.
The trustees form an important branch of university leadership that is instrumental in many of the administration’s decisions. Kraemer explained Lawrence’s board of trustees’ role by comparing the university to a company. “Companies need boards of directors,” Kraemer noted, “and in the same way, colleges need boards of trustees.”
There are 30 members on Lawrence’s board of trustees. The members have diverse backgrounds in many different fields, including business, government and education. Many trustees either attended Lawrence or are the parents of alumni, though neither are prerequisites for board membership.
Lawrence’s board of trustees helps the University’s administration manage by advising President Beck, assessing and challenging administrative decisions, and ensuring that the university is being governed in a sensible manner. Kraemer summarized the board’s purpose by clarifying that the trustees are “responsible for governance.”
Kraemer explained that Lawrence strives for a “good cross-section” of trustee members: people with varying genders, races, geographic origins and age groups.
To ensure such diversity, trustees are selected from recommendations made by President Beck, faculty members, alumni, and current board members. Though the board members hail from different backgrounds, Kraemer passionately asserted that the trustees all share a sincere love for Lawrence and volunteer their time to help change Lawrence for the better.
Lawrence’s board of trustees is subdivided into committees, and during each meeting session, individual committees meet and then report back to the board as a whole. The various committees are charged with tasks like writing Lawrence’s annual report, working with LUCC, introducing new majors and recruiting prospective students. Together, the committees work with students, faculty and alumni to ensure that every demographic at Lawrence is represented.
Kraemer graduated from Lawrence with a math and economics major and pursued a graduate degree at Northwestern University, where he now teaches after retiring as CEO of Baxter International, a global healthcare company.