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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dear Alumna,

The goal of Pines & Maples is to share information with the Wilson community. From the emails we receive, we know many are finding the Pines & Maples website and communications important sources for news. Thank you for writing to us, whatever your views. Please stay informed and ask questions.

And so we write today with more updates.

Student loan buy-back program rolled out

Have you seen the good press for Wilson this week as various media outlets pick up the story about Wilson's new student loan buy-back program? It's an attractive initiative and one of five elements of the Wilson Today plan passed by the Board of Trustees in January. There are numerous eligibility criteria, but for qualified students who complete their degree at Wilson in four years, it offers a chance to reduce their debt significantly. You can read more about it here.

Financial setback

Over the summer, news in the press was not as favorable for Wilson. In our email of August 3, we referred to a July 14th article in Chambersburg's Public Opinion indicating that four Trustees had resigned in the wake of the Board's vote to go co-ed. But also in the Public Opinion article was a revelation about the financial status of the college. Action in 2012 by the administration to address an uncollected pledge of $1.5 million triggered a breach of a bond covenant—something an institution never wants to do. This news was confirmed in the article by Brian Speer, Wilson's Vice President of Marketing and Communications. The consequences of the administration's action bring an avoidable, but now imposed, annual $160,000 in additional cost to the college.

We know Wilson needs to get all it can out of every financial resource it has. How many gifts from dedicated alumnae have been and will continue to be wiped out each year by a penalty of $160,000? We're reminded of the somber tone in Board Chair John Gibb's email to all of us last fall: “…the College will need to show satisfactory financial performance in order for the bank to extend [the letter of credit, which terminates in 2015]” (Gibb email, November 27, 2012).

Trustee meeting

This weekend, October 17-19, the Trustees returned to campus for their fall Board meeting. What lies ahead? We must wait for news, but each of us can ask questions. Each of us can hold the administration and Trustees of our alma mater accountable. And we can dream just what might have been done with $160,000 last year, and this year, and next. May each Trustee have the fortitude to exercise due diligence, ask pertinent questions, and vote from a fully informed basis. All of us should demand that timelines and procedures be appropriate, and that the Board remain vigilant about the financial status of the College.

If you have questions or want more information about any of the above, we look forward to connecting with you via the Call Center.

Firmly pledged to love and honor...

Deborah Barnes ’71
Melissa Behm ’76
Kendal Hopkins ’80
Nicole Noll ’03
Carol Noon ’87

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