Summary of February 2021 Board of Trustees Meeting
Chair William R. Berkley commenced his remarks with an acknowledgment of the death of Naomi Levine, who had served as the University’s chief fundraiser for 25 years. Mr. Berkley reported that a Board resolution recognizing Ms. Levine’s accomplishments had been prepared and would be sent to her family. Ms. Levine is credited with raising more than $2 billion for the University and founding NYU’s current development program.
The Board approved the establishment of the Ilse Melamid Associate Professorship in the Grossman School of Medicine.
The Board confirmed the fiscal year 2022 Board of Trustees meeting schedule. The Board confirmed Joseph S. Steinberg as a member of the Class of 2022 and appointed Mr. Steinberg as Co-Chair of the Facilities and Real Estate Committee and a member of the Executive Committee.
Other Action Items
The Board approved the annual accounts of NYU Madrid for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2020. The Board also approved the creation of an in-house venture fund at the Grossman School of Medicine for the purpose of enabling investments in entities in furtherance of its research and development enterprise and related to NYU Langone Health’s faculty, staff, students, and laboratories.
Select Committee Reports
- The Audit and Compliance Committee evaluated the University’s external auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and recommended retaining the firm for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2021, which the Board approved.
- The Committee on Trustees reported that a new process for vetting and selecting members of the Board of Trustees was approved by the Committee.
- The Development Committee gave an update on fundraising progress to date, noting that so far for fiscal year 2021, NYU Langone Health had raised $153 million and the rest of the University had raised $137 million. The Committee also reported that the NYU One Day Trustee Challenge raised $245,000.
- The Facilities and Real Estate Committee provided updates on several ongoing capital projects and reported on a presentation in connection with the University’s review and renegotiation of its property insurance program.
- On the recommendation of the Facilities and Real Estate Committee and the Finance Committee, the Board approved the sale of two properties in Alabama bequeathed to the School of Law and the purchase of eight condominium units to be used as faculty housing for the Grossman School of Medicine.
- The Investment Committee reported on the University’s endowment performance through December 2020, noting that the endowment ended 2020 with a stronger performance than its post-first quarter expectations.
President Andrew Hamilton provided an update on COVID-19 mitigation strategies on campus, plans for a substantial return to in-person classes in the fall 2021 semester, and the current status of fall enrollment. He also reported that registration and tuition payments are equal to or exceed last year, but noted that mitigation measures are already in place to address the anticipated budget shortfall due to the pandemic. He announced that applications increased by 20% and that early decision applicants number 16,000.
Remote Learning Experience
Provost Katherine Fleming introduced the remote learning experience that the Trustees would participate in for the next portion of the meeting. Since the Trustees were unable to visit the schools in person due to the pandemic and in order to get a sense of the remote learning experience, the Trustees participated in a session of one of four courses that are part of the University’s Big Ideas course series: 1) Artificial Intelligence, taught by Yann LeCun; 2) Food Politics, taught by Marian Nestle; 3) What is (a) Religion, taught by Anthony Appiah; and 4) Race and Inequality, taught by Michael Lindsay and Cybele Raver. The Trustees then reconvened to share their experiences. They described the experience as impressive, the technology as amazing, and the content as informative, dense, and spectacular.