The latest edition of LeaderNotes is available. This edition includes a Letter from the President, a Board Meeting Recap, a Meet the USM Staff Member, and more.
Letter from the President
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. The news of 2020 continues at a dizzying pace, but I want to begin this letter by highlighting the USM’s response to structural racism following the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests throughout the country and the world. Chancellor Perman and all of the USM presidents and regional center executive directors released a strong statement on structural racism. This marks the first time in USM history that leadership has united to create a joint message. Chancellor Perman also led a town hall on June 15 that focused on this issue, and I followed up by convening my staff in a town hall to begin a dialogue that will lead to reflection, understanding, and positive action. Our involvement in higher education means that we have a responsibility to learn and advocate for change. I hope that you will take time to read the statement and reflect on what we can do as individuals to promote social justice and put an end to inequity.
As you know, COVID-19 is still a global health emergency. Since March, the Foundation has been conducting business remotely. Our staff has seamlessly transitioned to telework and has been hard at work providing services to our colleagues and partners. The USM Foundation Board held its first-ever virtual Board meeting on Thursday, June 11. You can read a recap of that meeting here. It was great to “see” everyone on Zoom!
Many of the USM institutions have announced their return to campus plans for the fall semester. Recently, Chancellor Perman spoke to the Baltimore Business Journal about the System’s fall reopening. Dr. Perman noted that institutions will need to communicate to their students, faculty, and staff that there will not be COVID-free campuses until the disease is eradicated, but that additional safety measures must be put in place to limit infection and spread. We are thankful for Dr. Perman’s leadership during this time–it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a medical doctor at the helm of the System during a national pandemic!
On June 15, the Baltimore Business Journal published an article titled, “Md. universities have millions in endowment funds. But here’s why they can’t use them now,” which addresses why local institutions such as the USM and Johns Hopkins University are not using their endowment assets to make up for losses that have resulted from COVID-19. In the article, I explain that endowments are not rainy day funds and that there are strict regulations that dictate when and how universities can use these funds. I also note that the USM institutions have done a fantastic job fundraising for student emergency funds and have raised about $2.2 million since the start of the pandemic.
On an exciting note, the Foundation launched a refresh of our website in early June. We hope that the new version of the site is easier to use and more visually dynamic than our old site, that had served us for almost seven years. You may find the following pages useful: our Board Directory, our Staff Directory, and our Insights page, where we will post our latest news and updates.
As always, please contact me at email@example.com with any questions or comments.
Leonard R. Raley