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Angelo Roncalli
12-12-2008, 09:02 AM
From: "Spitzer, Fr. Robert, SJ"
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 09:31:53 -0800
To: <all-ug-l@gonzaga.edu>; <all-grad-l@gonzaga.edu>
Subject: [ALL-UG] President's Letter Regarding Economy

December 12, 2008

Dear Gonzaga Students, Alumni, Parents, and Friends:

During the past several months we have all borne witness to the dramatic and crippling effects of the national – indeed global – economic crisis. Together with you, we too have felt the impact the recession is having on many of our colleagues at institutions around the country – particularly state universities and community colleges. To some degree, all colleges and universities are concerned about the uncertain future that lies before us.

We at Gonzaga have been blessed over the past decade: we have welcomed a succession of incredibly talented, unique, and motivated students; our enrollments have increased, which in turn has allowed us to invest and re-invest in our students, our faculty, our facilities, and our programs. As a result, we are in a strong position to continue delivering the high-quality educational experiences that our students and families have come to expect from us. For the second year in a row, we have posted a final by-class graduation rate of above 80%, a goal we could only have achieved by meaningfully increasing both student satisfaction, and student financial support. The current environment has only served to reinforce for us the importance of providing first-class educational programs for our students who will, in turn, assume leadership positions in a whole host of industries and endeavors.

Gonzaga enjoys tremendous success in its year-to-year student retention; we are working hard to consider ways in which as many students as possible can stay with us from semester to semester, all the way through graduation. We are making every effort to again enroll a superb freshman class for next year. At the December Trustees’ meeting, we will propose as modest a tuition increase as we can possibly afford, while simultaneously remaining committed to providing more financial assistance to students and families than we ever have. To help us in this task, we will be asking our alumni and friends to consider contributing to our efforts at keeping Gonzaga affordable for as many current students as possible.

While the maintenance of educational quality is, and will remain, our first priority, we will continue to plan prudently. We have, through a very effective internal Financial Risk Management Committee, identified potential areas of expense recovery, should this become necessary. Our endowment value, like that of many of our peer schools, has been impacted because of decreasing values in market-based investments. However, our exposure there is mitigated by the broad diversity of investments with which we are involved, and the relatively small proportion of endowment-based proceeds that support our operations. Our financial planning efforts will be the focus of much ongoing discussion both within the community as well as with the Trustees. I want to assure you of our desire to keep you informed, even as we navigate these new and challenging waters.

I want to thank you for your continued support of Gonzaga University, its faculty, staff, and students. I want also to thank you for your participation, on behalf of our Jesuit Community, in this apostolic work of the Society of Jesus. Our primary mission, as it ever has been, is to educate students so that they can lead creative, productive, moral, and faith-filled lives. We look forward to sustaining this mission for many years to come.

Sincerely,
Robert J. Spitzer, S.J.
President