Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting September 20, 2019

The Board of Visitors met on September 20, 2019 in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Rector Bobby Hatten presiding.

Present from the Board

  • Mr. William Ermatinger
  • Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Ms. Maria Herbert
  • Mr. C. Bradford Hunter
  • Mr. W. Bruce Jennings
  • Mr. Steven Kast
  • Ms. Terri M. McKnight, CPA
  • The Honorable Gabriel Morgan
  • Dr. Ella P. Ward
  • Ms. Judy Ford Wason

Absent from the Board

  • Lindsey Carney, Smith, Esq.
  • Kellye Walker, Esq.
  • Mr. Junius Williams

Present from the University

  • Paul Trible, President
  • Mr. William Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Mrs. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Dr. David Doughty, Provost
  • Mrs. Jennifer Latour, Vice President for Strategy and Planning
  • Mrs. Adelia Thompson, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Mrs. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Maureen Matsen, Esq., University Counsel
  • Dr. Tatiana Rizova, Faculty Senate President
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Mr. Robert Lange, Dean of Admission
  • Ms. Cynthia Allen-Whyte, Alumni Society President
  • Mr. Henry Womble, Student Assembly President
  • Mr. Jim Hanchett, Chief Communications Officer
  • Mr. Tom Kramer, Director of External Affairs
  • Mr. Jered Benoit, IT Associate Director
  • Mr. Shane Leasure, IT Associate Director
  • Dr. Brian Puaca, Professor of History


  • Ambassador and Mrs. Walker
  • Mr. Matt Jones, Daily Press

Rector Hatten welcomed everyone present and said he was pleased and honored that Ambassador Walker and his wife were in attendance and asked Dr. Brian Puaca to introduce our special guests. Dr. Brian Puaca said that the lawn next to the Gregory Klich Alumni House was going to be named for Ambassador Walker’s father, William R. Walker, Jr. Mr. Walker lived on the land that became a part of our campus. Mr. Walker represented the property owners at the time the location of Christopher Newport was being determined and challenged the City to locate the new college elsewhere. Mr. Walker eventually became a strong supporter of Christopher Newport and served 3 terms on the Board of Visitors. He is being recognized today for his contributions to the City of Newport News, the Peninsula and the University.

Rector Hatten thanked Mr. Jered Benoit and Mr. Shane Leasure from the IT department for their hard work in implementing the Board’s electronic notebooks which are being used today for the first time.

Rector Hatten then called for a motion to approve the minutes of the Board meeting and President’s Annual Evaluation meeting held on May 31, 2019. Sheriff Gabe Morgan provided the motion, seconded by Dr. Ella Ward and the minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

President's Report

President Trible thanked Ambassador and Mrs. Walker for their service and said he was honored that they were with us today and pleased that the University would recognize and celebrate the life of his father, William R. Walker, Jr.

The Board then viewed the newest admission video and President Trible commented on the words of our students. He pointed out that they spoke of the culture of kindness at CNU and the community of compassion here. He said our students are committed to a life of service and a life of significance as portrayed in the video.

President Trible announced the launch of a two-year initiative called Inspiring Leadership. He explained that the purpose of this project is to expand CNU’s reach and reputation and more powerfully and persuasively tell the CNU story, share our values and vision and what it means to lead a life of significance. He said we will ask alumni to tell stories of their successes and how they are making a difference. In two years CNU will be 60 years old and over that time, CNU will celebrate milestones like the 30th anniversary of Life Long Learning, the 10th anniversary of the Wason Center, completion of the Fine Arts Center and much more. He said that as milestones are celebrated and stories are told, CNU will inspire others to serve and lead and everyone will better know the remarkable ways in which this university and our alumni are inspiring leadership and impacting our community, our Commonwealth and the world. Rector Hatten thanked President Trible for his vision and leadership of the University.

Finance and Audit and Committee Report

Chairman Jennings said that Mike Martin, Chair of the Real Estate Foundation, made a presentation to the Committee about the Foundation and its role in supporting the goals and objectives of the University.

Chairman Jennings reported that the Committee reviewed and discussed Resolution 1: Six Year Plan for 2020-2026 Six Year Plan. He said the University is compliant with the requirements outlined in the legislation and the Resolution comes to the full Board at the recommendation of the Committee. Rector Hatten called for any questions or discussion and then called for a motion to approve Resolution 1: Six-Year Plan for 2020-2026 and it passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Committee then reviewed and discussed Resolution 2 which creates a new University Retirement Committee. It removes the former trustees of the University retirement plans and delegates the authority to the new Committee to administer the plans. The Resolution comes to the Board at the recommendation of the Committee. There being no questions or discussion, Rector Hatten called for approval of Resolution 2: Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans and it passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Chairman Jennings said that Mr. Brauer reviewed in detail the Statement of Revenues and Expenses as of June 30, 2019 for the fiscal year and Chairman Jennings gave an overview to the Board. He specifically noted that the Ferguson Center for the Arts has eliminated its negative cash balance and is now $64,000 to the good. President Trible acknowledged the efforts of Mr. Bruce Bronstein and Mr. Bill Brauer to successfully enhance and improve the programming of the Ferguson Center.

The Committee reviewed the SWaM Report as of June 30, 2019 and Chairman Jennings noted that the University had improved slightly on its annual goal of 42% to 43.39%. He said the Committee was briefed on the Governor’s Executive Order which maintains a state-wide SWaM goal of 42% but adds a new goal of 50% in discretionary spending for all new capital outlay construction and that new SWaM categories were added.

The Committee reviewed and discussed Resolution 3: FY2020 Annual SWaM Procurement Plan and the Resolution is recommended for approval by the full Board. Chairman Jennings said the University is seeking procurement autonomy (Level 2.5). He told the Board that the University passed a rigorous procurement audit last spring and is now seeking full delegated purchasing authority from the state and admission to the VASCUPP organization. Rector Hatten called for questions and discussion and then called for a vote to pass Resolution 3 which passed by unanimous vote of the Board. Chairman Jennings said the Committee also reviewed the Annual Debt Service Report which is presented each year to the Board to show the University’s debt portfolio by maturity and by administrative unit.

After review and discussion, the Committee brings to the Board for approval, Resolution 4: Virginia College Building Authority Financing Authorization. This Resolution authorizes the University to issue debt for the Turf Field and other associated athletic expansion projects. Rector Hatten called for questions and discussion and then the Board approved Resolution 4 by unanimous vote.

Ms. Faith Belote provided the Committee with an Internal Audit Update which included staffing, fiscal year audit plan status, a summary of audit issues and the state of organization independence and annual quality assurance and improvement program report. The Committee brings to the Board the recommendation to approve Resolution 5: Amendment to the Audit Committee Charter which is necessary because the Standards supplemental guidance has recently been enhanced by the Institute of Internal Auditors and common practice revisions are recommended for amendment to the Charter. There was no discussion and the Resolution passed by unanimous vote of the Board. Mrs. McKnight said that it is very difficult to get a clean audit and this was a great accomplishment. Rector Hatten complimented Mr. Brauer, Mrs. Perry and Mrs. Latour for their hard work and the depth of their understanding and attention to detail to help the University run efficiently and effectively.

Academic Affairs Committee Report

Chairman Hunter reported that applications and deposits have been received for the Masters in Financial Analysis which was approved by SCHEV last spring. He updated the Board on the Community Captains initiative which has been a big success and recruitment for next year’s cohort will begin soon. He said that activities are scheduled to bring prospective students and their parents to campus. Next year the program will be expanded to all 6 public high schools in Newport News.

Chairman Hunter announced that in the US News rankings for Southern Regional Master’s Universities, Christopher Newport has moved from #10 overall to #6 overall and among the public universities, moved up to #3.

With regard to faculty composition and size, Chairman Hunter reported that this year there are 287 faculty members which, when factoring in retirements and other departures, there is a total of 21 new faculty this fall. He added that the percentage of faculty members on the tenure track is improving and is now at 75%.

Chairman Hunter reported that there are a number of curriculum initiatives underway including the addition of a cybersecurity major, data science minor and kinesiology. He said the Provost reported that Christopher Newport loses between 25-30 freshmen every year who want to major in Kinesiology and this will strengthen our STEM position.

Student Life Committee Report

Chairman Morgan asked his team of “hunters, gatherers and keepers”, Mr. Rob Lange, Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines and Dr. Kevin Hughes, to report on their efforts.

Mr. Rob Lange, Dean of Admission, said that this was a very challenging year for recruitment, however, CNU did very well. CNU’s goal was a class of 1225 and the final result was a class of 1238. He said the average SAT was 1205, the highest in history. This year the percentage of students of color of the freshman class was increased by 1% and there were a record number of students to participate in the President’s Leadership Program.

Dean Lange reported that CNU is well underway to recruiting next year’s class and is up by 20% for students who have started their applications. He told the Board that CNU has the 4th most competitive admit rate among the public colleges in Virginia. President Trible said that half the freshman class earned an average high school GPA of 4.0 or better and only a few schools in Virginia made their class without going to their waitlist. He thanked Mr. Lange and his team, the financial aid staff and everyone on campus for their efforts to recruit an outstanding freshman class.

Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines reported that three-week grades are being reviewed which provides early feedback to our students and allows our success coaches to reach out and meet with the students who need assistance. She said tutoring services are readily available without charge and over 1,000 students this semester completed their tutoring orientation.

Dr. Raines said that the survey of students who graduated in the last 6-months, shows that 94% of our students are employed full-time or are enrolled full-time in graduate school. She noted that there is an 81% response rate to this survey.

Dr. Raines told the Board that there is focus on first generation students and we are developing relationships, engaging families and facilitating connections to help ensure their success. First generation faculty members and staff are being connected with these students to help mentor them and to be a useful resource for them.

Dr. Kevin Hughes told the Board that the Setting Sail summer orientation program held in June provides sessions for family members and students to help them prepare for the new challenges they will face in college. He said the second program for our new students is Welcome Week which is the week before classes start. During this time they learn about Christopher Newport’s culture and values, engage with various campus departments and participate in the Honor Code Induction Ceremony and participate in the Day of Service. Dr. Hughes touched on the national mental health crisis and said there is a good system in place at CNU to recognize students who are struggling and may need some assistance. He said the number of visits to the counseling center is up slightly from last year and is a good resource for our students.

Building and Grounds Committee Report

Chairman Ermatinger said the members of the Committee toured the Fine Arts Center and Band Rehearsal Hall, Jennings Stadium and the Gosnold Lawn. The Fine Arts Center is scheduled to be completed by January 2021. The committee also saw the completion of the Jennings Family Turf Stadium which Mr. Jennings funded and he thanked him and his family for their many generous contributions to the University. He said the construction of the residence hall which will replace CNU Crossing will be completed in August 2020 and the design of the building to replace the CNU/Suntrust building is nearing completion. Construction will begin in January 2020 and be completed by Summer 2021.

Title IX Annual Report

Ms. Michelle Moody provided the Board with an update on Title IX investigations and activities. She said the Office of Civil Rights has proposed new regulations and they are in the process of reviewing the public comments that were submitted. She told the Board that CNU has partnered with the LGBT Life Center in Norfolk which provides resources, advocacy, education and counseling services. Ms. Moody said that there have been three formal investigations of sexual misconduct, however no one was found responsible. She noted that all three incidents involved students who knew each other and alcohol. She reported on the training provided to the entire university community and said that our student-athletes and staff are also trained as required by NCAA. Ms. Moody reported on the networking that takes place locally and state-wide and the efforts on campus to raise awareness and to let the campus community know of the resources available. She thanked President and Mrs. Trible for their participation in the Fear 2 Freedom “Hour to Empower” event and the support they provide to the Title IX office.

Faculty Senate Report

Dr. Titiana Rizova, Faculty Senate President, said the Executive Committee solicited feedback and recommendations from the faculty through a survey. The result of the survey showed that key issues included the budget, namely the allocation of resources for faculty research, faculty development and sabbaticals; fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion; continuing to improve the process of annual reviews and administrator reviews; and issues related to the quality of life. She said that the Faculty Senate has been invited to weigh in on the CHECS process and the issue of allowing students to take coursework during academic suspension. Dr. Rizova expressed the faculty’s gratitude for the increase in the budget allocation for faculty professional development.

Alumni Society Report

Ms. Cynthia Allen-Whyte said the Alumni Board met in August and discussed their goals for the year. She said the Board is starting to track first-time attendees to events and reaching out to keep them involved in the life of the University. The Alumni Society is working with Advancement to identify those alumni who have never given and each Board member has been given a list of names to contact in order to engage them in campus activities. The Board is also working with the Career Center to partner current students with alumni for mentoring and networking opportunities.

Rector Hatten asked Ms. McKnight to entertain a motion to enter closed session under Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2.3711(a)(1) Personnel, and (a)(9) Gift Bequest and Fundraising. Mr. Ermatinger provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Kast and the motion passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Board returned to open session and Secretary McKnight asked for a roll call certifying that only public matters were discussed that were identified in the motion by which the executive or closed meeting was called. Board members Mr. Bruce Jennings, Ms. Terri McKnight, Mr. Brad Hunter, Ms. Judy Wason, Ms. Maria Herbert, Mr. Gabe Morgan, Dr. Ella Ward, Mr. Ermatinger, Mr. Kast and Mr. Bobby Hatten certified to the above.

Mr. Jennings provided a motion to amend the language of the President’s contract as discussed in closed session which more clearly states, for tax purposes, the Board’s expectations and intention in requiring the President to reside in University-provided housing. (A copy of the language is attached.) Ms. McKnight seconded the motion and it passed by unanimous vote.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

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