Opening Remarks Fall 2009
President John M. Anderson's Opening Remarks Aug. 17, 2009 Transcribed
DR. ANDERSON: Good morning. We have a little -- we have a little video to show you. I just wanted to let you know that the eight-minute video is not a substitute for my opening remarks, so -- the opening remarks are a little longer, so we'll start with the video.
(The video was shown.)
DR. ANDERSON: I want to thank Deb Root and her team for putting that together. We started this idea about a month ago, putting it together in a short period of time. Some would say why'd we do this. It came out of a brainstorming session. As you know, if you don't know you know now, the Chancellor, Nancy Zimpher, is coming to visit us tomorrow, and we want to leave her -- we want to prep her for the visit, so we're leaving this video in her hotel room tonight, and then we started thinking if we're going to go through the effort of preparing this that we could use it for other things such as development work, Dan's going to use it, take it on the road. If anybody wants a copy -- we're going to put this on our website, but if anybody wants a copy, a DVD, if you're involved with a community organization, they want to know what's going on at the college, I think it portrays where we're headed. It's exciting and we should be proud of it. If anybody wants to use that to share with organizations outside the college, just contact Deb Root and we will get you a flash drive or a DVD and you can take it on the road. But again, I want to thank Deb Root and her team for doing a great job.
Two special people in the room that I'd like to introduce. First of all, Vivian's with us today. Viv, stand up, thanks for being here. And as always, our chair of the College Council is with us; whenever we have events on campus she's always there, and I truly appreciate it, as we all do. Pat Fogarty, please stand up.
I was recently reminded of the opening line in Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." I heard someone echo that already, and I realized how well it describes our current situation at the college. I'm going to share with you today the context and the magnitude of the challenges we face and then show you how we have positioned ourselves not only to meet those challenges but to serve as an example of how a college can thrive in challenging times.
We continue to be embroiled in a global recession the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes. The college has weathered a number of financial crises in its 100-year history. All you have to do is read the history of Alfred State College to recognize that, and I remember all too well many of those in just the last 28 years I've been associated with the college. In the early 1980s when I was a new faculty member here, I remember people receiving pink slips that their jobs had been terminated. Some of those people are here today, right? Yeah, John Buckwalter, Vicky Bolton, yeah, remember those days? Fortunately, those pink slips were rescinded at the eleventh hour and thank goodness because we still have Vicky Bolton and John Buckwalter here today. Many can remember the slow decline in enrollment that we faced during the early 1990s that brought what I refer to as the SWAT team in from Albany led by Dick Miller. And they wanted to know what we were going to do about it. We were at about a $1.6 million budget deficit. Enrollment had declined to 2,700 students. This campus challenge was coupled with another slowdown in the economy that really placed us in financial peril. However, our resolve and our commitment to the college pulled us through that dark hour. I am sure Jim Grillo remembers the effort we invested in developing a comprehensive strategic plan that called for a significant amount of reallocation of academic program resources, a promotional campaign, and a very aggressive scholarship program. In three short years we closed the budget gap and enrollment peeked at almost 3,600 students. We've been there before, we know what to do, and we know how to do it.
Today's situation is somewhat different. Unfortunately, Alfred State College experienced a decline in enrollment in recent years while other colleges were taking advantage of the high school graduation population boom and peek. Coupled with that lost opportunity, we now face a global recession that has disrupted financial markets throughout the world. Across the nation benefits are being reduced, salaries frozen or cut, people are losing half of their retirements. All areas of the economic enterprise are affected, and no one is immune from this. Small businesses, large ones, the auto industry, the banking industry, the construction industry, even higher education.
In June, I don't know if you read the Chronicle of Higher Education, but the June 26th edition, it explains in great detail what many colleges are going through. Faculty are being terminated, faculty benefits are being reduced, salaries being frozen. It's serious times out there. Let me just -- I want to clarify something. In the spring the management confidential employees, the senior level administrators, those who make the higher salaries, volunteered to freeze their salaries and take the raises that were planned and donate them back to the college, and we're going to put it into the adjunct pool that had been cut in the previous budget. That was a good intention and we were trumped by the Board of Trustees; the SUNY Board of Trustees came out about a month later and passed a resolution that all MC salaries were going to be frozen, and I find that unfortunate because some MC employees don't make a lot of money, and their salaries are going to be frozen. We will take the difference -- they didn't take the money away like the tuition, so we'll take that difference and put it back in the operating budget, and I want to thank those MC employees who did volunteer initially to freeze their salaries.
Some are predicting a decrease in federal tax revenue of up to 48 percent this year. Governor Paterson has come out and projected, I'm sure you've read this in the news, the dance has already begun for the budget negotiations for next year, but he's come out and he has predicted that we will fall short in this fiscal year, the State of New York revenue by $2.2 billion. So this is a serious time. Yet ironically it is also the best of times. Because the college in many ways is better prepared to face these challenges than we ever have before and take advantage of the plethora of opportunities this new economy presents. And there are many of them. We need to be ready, we are headed in the right direction, being guided by this wonderful strategic plan, remember this, that many of you worked very hard on last year and approved and endorsed and we're moving forward. When it comes to higher education, our prospective students will be seeking relevance, value, and access, all which are congruent with our mission and academic program offerings. We need to be ready, and I am confident we are.
We have already begun to take advantage of those opportunities that will continue to advance the college, some of which you saw in that video. I have stood before you on many occasions advocating the importance of staying the course with our strategic plan in light of the challenges we face. Why? Because many collective minds and bearing perspectives identify the challenges that we faced and set the goals in that plan with an eye to the future, knowing well that the economy was not going to improve and that those challenges will remain. It is even more apparent to me now that this approach is essential for our future success. We have made tremendous progress over this first year of the plan, and all of that success is due to many of you in this room. So on behalf of all our students, alumni, and supporters, I thank you.
Now, let us look at the outcomes. When we developed our plan, I shared the four R's with you: recruitment, retention, revenue, and reputation. And many of our efforts in the past year have made a positive impact on all four R's. I will highlight some major accomplishments and significant progress that has occurred, but I do not want to lose sight of what might appear at first as small and insignificant contributions. And I'll share with you just a couple of stories.
If you've been around the campus loop, you will see that the Huntington Administration Building is in disarray. As a matter of fact, for half the summer you couldn't see the front of the building for mounds of dirt and rubble as we installed a new high temperature hot water system. It was a challenge for not only me and everybody who worked in the building but prospective students and their parents to find entrance to that building and find parking. And we all kind of had our little niches of where to park and how to get into the building throughout the summer. If I got there early enough, I could park down in the Ag Science lower parking lot if I beat Nancy Shear to work. And then I'd walk through the halls from the basement up to the first floor, second floor, and go out and around the quad. During the summer when I go through that building, there were a couple of custodians, cleaners that were waxing the floor. Michael Cole, Tammy Sharp, and Gary Lovell are assigned to that building. And I was so impressed with the job they were doing, I mean you could -- you should go over there, you can eat off those floors. They're cleaner than my kitchen counter. The spit and polish is amazing, and they took great pride in that work, and I'd say this is a phenomenal job, and they took wonderful pride in that. And that kind of attitude, that kind of attitude of taking pride in what might appear as an insignificant contribution to our success permeates this institution.
This summer, and we'll talk more about it, the dining hall and the kitchen didn't exist. The ACES staff had to overcome tremendous challenges to provide for some of us that were around this summer and were holding events and catering, and we'll talk more about those later on. That ACES staff had to deal with all of that while they had no kitchen, and then they realized that they may not have a kitchen when the students arrived. But they remained upbeat and positive. And in spite of all the challenges they face, I went through a tour last week, and the staff is just beaming from ear to ear. They're so proud of the new facility they're going to have, and they overcame the challenges all summer, and they're going to overcome the challenges of not having everything the way they want it when the students arrive, but they're taking a lot of pride in what they're doing. And that's what makes a difference.
So let me get back to some of the strategic initiatives in our plan and report out how we're doing. And I apologize up front that this might be a little lengthy, but there's a lot that's gone on in the last year, and I think we all need to know about it and all need to take pride and enjoy the moment.
Let me talk about enrollment. We are up, and significantly, in just about all categories. We will make our budget number of 3,295 students. We will make our enrollment plan number of 3,410 students, and we will exceed that. Now, some of you who are new to the system and some of you who are not so new still don't understand the difference between what the budget number is and the enrollment plan, so let me see if I can clarify that. The budget number is a very important number. That's the 3,295 students. That's the number that we negotiate -- well, we don't really negotiate, we're told from System Administration, that's the number that they will fund. We get two major sources of revenue here: $5,000 a year in tuition, and $3,300, it's actually $3,304 per student average from the state. That's our state support, so $3,300, 5,000 per student, okay? The State of New York says we'll fund 3,295 students at 3,300. Anything above that we're not going to help you anymore, okay? At the same time, and that's due to the budget process, you know, the State, the governor, and the legislature gives SUNY so much money, so when it trickles down that's what we get, that amount, even though the memorandum of understanding we have with SUNY calls for us to have a target, an enrollment plan target, and that's mapped out over a number of years. Recently that was negotiated down because, as I mentioned before, in the past few years there was an enrollment dip, so we will make our enrollment plan readjust the number to 3,410. And I think we will exceed that. I'll go out on a limb and say we're going to probably have 3,500 students, and that's great. Even though we're not getting the $3,300 for those extra students, we still have some elasticity in programs where we can take more students without a huge investment.
Now, there are some programs we had to reinvest in. There are some programs that we had to add additional sections to because the way we teach. We're limited to lab space and faculty, primarily in the Wellsville campus in the School of Applied Technology, and we've done that in certain areas. We also had I believe it was 15 programs, Val, on the wait list, or 16?
VALERIE NIXON: Fifteen.
DR. ANDERSON: Fifteen programs we had to put on the wait list, so we could of actually had more students if we had the capacity to teach them. So that's a phenomenal increase, that's a phenomenal outcome, and all of you in this room contribute to that in some way.
We have three new bachelor's programs that we're starting this fall: bachelor's in business administration, a bachelor's in human services management, and a bachelor's in information security and assurance. In addition to the formal academic programs, we have some other programs in the academic area that we will be starting officially. Our Institute for Sustainability is going to be formally organized under the leadership of Dr. Brian Baker, who you'll meet a little later. We're so pleased to have Brian come back to the area. He's originally from Almond. He's been out on the West Coast and has a national reputation in this area for sustainability, and he will lead us forward in our projects and initiatives that will involve many of you, whether it's curriculum infusion, grant funded projects, workshops, or whatever. We are moving forward on a number of those projects. I won't go into great detail.
Some of you have been following with interest our development of a commercial wind farm on top of the agricultural farm, and that's moving forward in the spring. Glenn Brubaker and a class of his students helped the engineer from Empire State Wind Energy construct and erect a test tower. We're taking wind readings and directions at three different elevations, and, if you're interested in this kind of information, you can go onto our website under our Going Green button on the first page and you will see -- and thanks -- I think C.J. Rahr is converting the raw data into graphs for us on a monthly basis, so you can actually look at the wind data on our website, anybody can, and I think that's great. So we're going to be collecting that data, I can't tell you for how long, but when you're going to invest $50 million the company wants to make sure we're going to have enough wind. The engineers are saying it's looking good so far, and this data is being taken at the worst time, in the summer, so we're going to have to have a few more months, I'm sure, of collection, data collection.
We are going to be starting the Green Home on the Wellsville campus. The building trades program is going to be constructing a residence on the campus, not for sale but as a demonstration home, a model home for renewable energy and recyclable materials. That is going to be very exciting as well. And there are many other projects that continue as well, the Pioneer farm and we have a lot going on in that area.
We will -- and you know I'm mentioning individuals, and don't be slighted if I don't mention your name, there's a lot going on here, but I have to give credit to people who have really the Small College Big Dreams. Jeff Johnston is one of those. When I first returned he started e-mailing me, "I got this idea, I got this idea." "Okay, go ahead, Jeff." We did the due diligence with his idea, and that was to start a pilot of our own study abroad program, and Jeff took there was about fifteen students over to Italy last semester. Tough assignment. And I had to go make sure he was doing his job. So I did a little Middle States mini visit, and I interviewed the students and the faculty and assessed the facilities, and this comes under the category of being at the right place at the right time. There's a creative entrepreneur over there who's building and has built and continues to develop a language institute, and I think we're going to develop a partnership where we will be the college of credit, we will get revenue and we will provide wonderful opportunities for our students and other students across the country to participate. We're going to expand that program, hopefully, if we have the student interest in the field of business. Dianne Tuzzolino I think is working on that, and so hopefully we'll have two programs this spring over there and students from other colleges participating as well. And that's just again, it contributes to the revenue generation by also our reputation as well because our name will be out across the country for this program. So that's exciting.
We're developing, it's also in our strategic plan, our first Living Learning Community this year, and we're looking at some potential other living learning communities.
We are working on enhancing faculty scholarship opportunities. We committed to two sabbaticals in our strategic plan, and we have two faculty on sabbatical this year: Connie Pennisi is going to be finishing her MFA and Yogi Jonchhe is over in Nepal, I think it's this semester, studying over in Napal. By the way, if you haven't congratulated Joge on his Fulbright, that's what got him this sabbatical. And that's again something that enhances our reputation. It's our third Fulbright that we've had that we can figure in our history, and that's exciting.
The provost, Provost Rosati, is working on incentives for faculty grant-based research that involves buybacks, buyouts, so we can get faculty teaching responsibilities reduced if faculty choose to engage in specific research, and I think that's exciting.
We are funding academic equipment at a higher level than we have in the past. We allocated $225,000 from our reserves, or savings, to go to academic equipment replacement and new equipment. We have also allocated, but we haven't spent it all yet because this takes a little longer, we've allocated $550,000 to classroom and lab upgrades, and I don't know what's going on in these rooms and I don't think we're finished with a lot of this, but E.J. Brown: 119, 212, 317, 415; School of Engineering Technology building: 213, 334, 344, 443; Ag: 302; Orvis: 110. A lot of these things aren't finished, but we have the money set aside and we're investing in our teaching learning environments, and I think that's very exciting.
There is a whole host, it's a long list of facility upgrades that have taken place in the last year but primarily over the summer, and it's amazing. This campus has been torn up, it's still torn up, but hopefully we're going to start seeing it buttoned back up.
Some things that you may not know, and I think this is the first time publicly that I'm announcing that we have signed a contract with the architect who is going to design the new Student Leadership Center. And we were involved in that selection process. Rex Simpson was involved, facilities people were involved, Val Nixon was involved, I was involved, Steve Tyrell was involved, and we went up to Albany. We interviewed the architects. We have -- and the architectural faculty. I can't remember the magazine. Rex, did I share that with you? The magazine where -- some architecture magazine, and I think you have it or you have the website for it. I'll get it out to you guys. It rated the top 50 architects in the country, and the architect we selected is not only in that top 50, that architect is rated number one in the country, so we have secured the services of the number one architectural firm in the country to design our Student Leadership Center, and that's William Rawn Associates out of Boston. They're going to be teaming up with a New York firm, Bergman & Associates, Jim Durphy's group up in Rochester, so we're really excited. So the planning is going to start this year on that, and that's going to be very interesting.
The design of the Allied Health rehab has been going on very well. I want to thank all the faculty and staff that have worked with Flynn Battaglia Architects out of Buffalo in the redesign of the Allied Health building. It is very exciting. We are converting a lot of space back to academic space on the first floor. A lot of thought has gone on with that design. We're going to have a little challenge in the cash flow because that's not new construction money that comes in on an annual basis, and we only get so much. It's -- what is it, Mark, a $12.5 million project? $13.3 million project, so we got a little bit of a cash flow challenge, but we're working on that. Jeff Hamburg from Construction Fund is coming down in a week or -- next week? A week from today? Wednesday, and we're going to solve that problem, so we got a whole brand-new Allied Health building out of this.
The Athletic Gateway building is up, and we'll be ready for our first home event, I hope. If you haven't been up there, go up to the parking lot. We actually have an entrance to our stadium. And we're looking for a naming opportunity. And not only do we have a ticket office and beautiful concession stands and offices and nice storage facility, we have real bathrooms with heat. No more purple Larry Latrines up for homecoming. So that's exciting.
The floor, this doesn't sound real glitzy, but the floor in the Workforce Development Center, we have a goal to get that poured this fall, right, Craig? Where is Craig? Yes, okay, he says yes. The best part about that is I think we have a donation to pay for it, so we'll get that going and that building will take off, I'm sure. The high temperature hot water project, again not a glitzy project, we have to tear up the campus, but it's an essential project because we want heat in the winter. But we took advantage, we leveraged that project into beautification in front of the Huntington Administration Building.
If you don't already get this, I'm a big fan of first impressions, especially when we have prospective students and their parents coming to visit us, and when they walk up the stairs to the Huntington building and they see the cracked concrete wall and stone wall and they see the weeds and they see the rusted rebar coming through the sidewalk, it's not a good first impression. We're going to take care of all that. We will have -- we got rid of that -- I call it the moat look, you know, with the stone wall and the hedges that kind of hide the building. We got rid of all that. We're going to have the lawn slope down with pavers walking up to it and enhance the parking for visitors, so we are very excited about that, and that will again go a long way to creating a positive first impression for our visitors.
The dining hall and new kitchen, what are we calling that, The Terrace? The Terrace now. You will be so impressed. You will not recognize the dining facility. It is state of the art. My youngest daughter, Shelly, goes to school at Skidmore College, her last year, thank God. They had this most impressive dining hall. I said boy, I wish we could get something like that at Alfred. Well, now we have it, and you will be so excited when you go in there. Let me just share with you, no more of that line -- you walk in the door and you go down the cafeteria line. Now you walk in and it's just visually impressive, but you'll be able to go to different serving stations. And here we go: Asian flare, so you can imagine Braun out there and there are big woks behind that serving station, he's going to be cooking up Asian flare. We have Grill Works that you can get anything grilled. Traditions which is the home-style cooking station with the traditional roast turkey or ham or whatever is on the menu for the day. Carve and Create, I love that, Carve and Create. Paninis, any kind of sandwiches you want. And this is where you'll probably see me hanging out, and Jim Grillo, Primo Italiano. This is the pasta bar with a wood-fired pizza oven. It's just unbelievable. Not to mention the dessert bar and the 24-item salad bar. And then when you go into the dining room you'll see a whole new ambience. We have new windows, unfortunately two of them are still blocked out because we had to put the temporary air conditioning in there because it's another long story, but new ceiling, new furniture, new tables, it's just going to be fantastic. And again, this goes to help with our recruitment, our retention, first impressions, and I want to thank Tom Massara and Karen Canne for heading up the design team on that. Just absolutely fantastic.
Alfred State's always been proud of our technology. We were the most wired campus back when, I can't -- few years ago, decade ago. Then we were one of the first wireless campuses, and now we have the fastest wireless available with double -- I don't know what the technology is, but with double the coverage area per access point. With a high-end wireless card, students, faculty, and staff could see speeds nearly ten times faster than what you're used to. Most of us will see improvements around five times faster than the old network, so congratulations to Mike Case and his crew for getting that done.
Another spot -- we should all go on tour. Another spot you ought to see -- and this has all been done over the summer. Another spot you should see is the first floor of the library. It is amazing. It is the ultimate makeover. And we didn't put a lot of money in it, okay? And this is probably the biggest bang for the buck on campus, but when you walk in the first floor of the library, if you can remember, we used to have these tall stacks of books to the left in front of the windows. It kind of looked like a cavern. We had the original carpet, you know, the beautiful orange carpet, remember that? That's gone. All new carpet and new entranceway. We still have to work on the first entry breezeway part. When you walk in you'll be able to look out across the valley. It looks ten times bigger than it was. Beautiful lounge areas, new furniture, new low stacks, beautiful wood trim, carrels. If you see Barb Greil, she's still bouncing off the floor, okay? And she really took the lead on designing that, and I want to thank her and her team. That's going to be a very attractive space, again, not only for our students but great first impression for our visitors.
E.J. Brown now has an entranceway where the doors close, we hope, in the winter. And the most significant part of that project is that Val Nixon won't have to listen to Jim Grillo complain anymore. And it's beautiful, right?
JIM GRILLO: I don't know, it's not done yet.
DR. ANDERSON: Well, we still have a week before students come back. We are also -- and this is not as visible, we're also starting a master plan for the campus. I think we just finished the selection for that architect for the master plan? Or are we still in negotiations? Not quite done yet, but we will have an architect. And the best part about this is we don't have to pay for it, SUNY's paying for it, and we're going to do a significant master plan for the campus, and what's different about this master -- we do this about every ten years -- what's different about this master plan is that we're going to include Wellsville as well. The Construction Fund has agreed to do that, so we're going to assess all of our facilities, and it's perfect timing because when we bring the new student leadership building on line there's going to be all kinds of movement of offices from one area to another, so we really want to get a comprehensive look of how we can best use our space on campus and what needs to be rehabbed as well. So that's going to be taking place in the next couple years. You'll see a bunch of miscellaneous concrete work going on.
Another great area that you should stop by on your campus tour but probably not until November is the Main Gates, Main Gate A and B. At the end of last year I toured Main Gate A and B, and I was appalled at the living conditions -- I shouldn't say living conditions, the appearance. There was spackle coming off, it was stained carpet. It was just very ugly, very institutional and not in a pretty state. Res Life people have gotten together, it turns out we had some rehab money in the dormitory fund, and we solicited the help of Mary Golden, one of our< interior design faculty, over the summer to work with the team, and it's going to have a whole new look. We've changed the colors, the public places when you walk in are going to be very inviting, very different, not look at all like a residence hall, in a good way, and we are going to display student artwork around and -- this is a pilot test, we're going to raise the bar and we're going to see how well the students respect their living space if we make it really nice. So that's the philosophy there.
You will, if you haven't read in the news, we did a significant -- I think a significant thing over the summer. On behalf of a request from me, the College Council passed a resolution to change the name of the Victorian House to the Theta Gamma House, respecting its long history and tradition as a part of this college campus. And also, quite frankly, repairing a lot of bad feelings among alumni from the '50s and '60s. We had 75 to 80 people come in this summer for the dedication. Chairman Fogarty and I presented the resolution and unveiled a plaque renaming the Victorian House Theta Gamma House, and we'll put a sign out front as well. That was a wonderful event. We had a lunch and a lot of these alumni groups from the '50s and '60s I didn't realize had been having their own alumni reunions, and of course when they found out what we were doing, I started -- Vivian and I were invited to a number of alumni reunions throughout the week culminating in this special event on campus, and we had a wonderful luncheon. And I think there are a lot of alumni feeling a lot better about the college because of what we did. So that was exciting.
And before I get off the facilities list because I know I'm going to get this question from Annie Constantine, what about the commuter staircase, right, Annie? Well, it's not up yet, as you probably noticed. But it will be up before the snow flies, I have been promised, okay? And that's another project that will link the commuter parking lot up to the SDC sidewalk so the commuters don't have to trudge through the mud and the snow in the wintertime, and Annie brought that to our attention and we will be acting on it. Just the timing and the plans didn't get in on time to get it done this summer.
So you can see we've done a lot over the summer and we have a lot to button up, so please, you know, share with the students that this is all good stuff, even though there may be some inconvenience at first getting around campus and parking and what not and the dining hall. Karen Canne asked me, she would really appreciate it, I know how much I'm dying to get over into that dining hall, but she's going to have enough of a challenge getting ready for the students. As a matter of fact, she said that all her staff is going to have like one day to get trained on all the new equipment, and sometime during the year, if you get a chance, go tour the kitchen. There's this high-tech stuff that's unbelievable, you know, baking cookies in three minutes or something. It's just quite unbelievable. But she asked if I could just mention to you, stay away for a week or two until they get up and running, and then she'd be more than willing to serve the faculty and staff, but it's a little crazy over there right now.
Okay, enough on facilities. There are other great things that we accomplished and we are on our way to accomplishing, I just want to mention some of those. We are establishing a Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion this semester. This is an outcome of discussions that we had last year and also forward thinking as we move to a more diverse campus community. So you'll be hearing more about that. And it's not that -- I don't want to say this is a reactionary move, this is a forward thinking move -- because as we internationalize the culture, Vivian and I and some of the staff entertained our new Japanese students last Friday, had 'em over for a barbecue. I'm sure there's probably going to be some video on You Tube of one of the Japanese students and I graying guitar together, but we had a great time. So this commission is really just keeping our minds and thinking forward about how we can look at diversity inclusion in the broadest sense on this campus and how we can embrace it and support it.
Assessment is moving along. A lot of what I'm sharing with you now you can find over the summer, the cabinet does a two-day retreat and part of that retreat, most of that retreat, is the institutional effectiveness assessment, how are we doing on our strategic plan, and I report out some of the highlights, but we have reports in great detail of all the work that you've been doing that we've recorded measurable outcomes on our strategic plan, and within two weeks we're going to have -- we're still editing this -- in two weeks we'll have it up on our assessment web page and you can go through it in great detail, but we're making, as I mentioned, tremendous progress. We developed an Office of Assessment, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Kathleen Ebert for her foundational work in moving this college forward and through her leadership in getting us involved in assessment at all levels, and I think she deserves a round of applause for that.
In the area of student affairs, in our strategic plan there are certain areas that we had a goal to conduct student learning outcomes assessment, and that was in the area of career development, new student orientation, university police, alcohol and drug intervention programs, and residential living. If you're not aware, Alfred State College is a leader in outcomes-based assessment in student affairs. I know that because when I go to meetings where other SUNY presidents are there, they come up to me and they say, "I want to thank you for sending Steve Tyrell out and help our staff with outcomes assessment in student affairs." We are developing a reputation in that area, and I want to thank Steve and his staff for working on that.
Revenue generation. We have a goal in our strategic plan to increase revenue from fundraising 400 percent over the next five years. That's what makes Dan sleepless. But there's also other types of fundraising. Let me just mention that it's been a great year for fundraising in spite of -- if you talk to other colleges and organizations, they're down in fundraising; we're up in just about I think every category, right, Dan? For the fiscal year that ended in June we raised more total support than we ever have before. We raised about $2.8 million which is more than twice as much total support than in any year in Alfred State's history. We're up in all categories: cash, gifts in kind, endowment, and unrestricted dollars. You may have noticed the Hornell Evening Tribune article on our capital campaign. We just finished that campaign in which we exceeded our campaign goal by over 100 percent. In three years we raised over $7.5 million in cash and> equipment. Our team has done a great job, and we're still planning for the future. And we continue to raise that bar.
We will have, by the way, at homecoming, which is Friday the 20 -- actually starts Thursday, the 24th -- 25th and 26th of September is homecoming. Put it on your calendar. It's going to be a great time. The football game on Saturday night at half time, President Rezak is coming back. He's the honorary co-chair of the Capital Campaign Committee, and we'll be having a celebration and a turning over of the money, the official end of the campaign, so if you can make it, that would be great.
Federal appropriations. We're also becoming leaders in making advancements in getting federal appropriations. Federal appropriations is another term for pork. I remember Congressman Amo Houghton, he used to say to me, he goes, "John, I don't like this pork business, but it's there, and if it's there, we might as well try to get some of it," in which we did. Let me just give you -- we have three projects that have made the critical first hurdle, and that's quite amazing. We're up there and there aren't many that make that first hurdle. The first hurdle is getting it through the elected representative's office, so that's Senator Schumer and Congressman Massa we've been working with. For example, in Schumer's office they get thousands of requests a year for federal appropriations. And how many did he get through? A couple dozen, not even. The 4,000 requests Schumer's office gets for federal appropriations, and you can go on his website, there's about a dozen or maybe two dozen that he says okay. And we got three. All right? That's remarkable. Let me just share with you what they are. The appropriation request for '08-'09, still in committee, biodiesel demonstration technology project supported by Massa and Schumer, it's $150,000. This is to build a facility so we can generate our biodiesel fuel. You know, we've been doing that student design project out of Wellsville, but we found out that our facility didn't meet code, so now we have to build a facility to do it. The transportation reauthorization bill, our asphalt research center, Alfred State College, supported by Massa and was sent to committee for funding consideration at the level of $1.5 million. This is a Craig Clark initiative. This is where we're going to recycle the tires, Craig?
CRAIG CLARK: Your tires.
DR. ANDERSON: I didn't hear you.
CRAIG CLARK: Your tires.
DR. ANDERSON: Yes. This is an exciting project that we get funded for. The Workforce Development Center in Wellsville, that request was for $1.2 million to finish that building, and that's supported by Senator Schumer and sent to committee for funding consideration. So the fact that these things went through the elected officials' office to committee is significant. It doesn't guarantee we're going to get it, but that's a phenomenal ratio to get three of those projects to committee when there's only a couple of dozen, and you can get on their websites and read about that. So congratulations to all those people who worked hard on that.
Grants. We've had a great year in grants. I'll just highlight some of them, over $2 million. The biggest one, SUNY Green's New York is a $2 million grant that was cited by the governor this summer in his speech on economic development in New York City which he invited me to attend, so I was very honored to do that. That was the day that the Senate coup took place, so the news got buried, but we were there, and the text of the governor's speech is available, and Alfred State College has a prominent paragraph in it for leading New York in training people for the green collar industry. That grant will go over a period of three years of about $600,000. Jeff Stephens is working with a group of students and did last year in the National Arboretum, installing photovoltaic cell power systems at the National Arboretum. We did one grant last year for 30,000 and looks like we're going to do at least one, maybe two, this coming year because they have money in the budget. We have a five-year agreement with the National Arboretum to work with them in developing renewable energy sources. Again, that goes to reputation, I'm really proud of that. We have a number of organic local grants, in the order from 10 to 30,000. The Empire State Development Corporation supports our Workforce Development Building to the tune of 150,000, and there's just a lot going on in that area. And with Provost Rosati's proposal that he will share with you to the faculty later this morning, I think we'll see even more. And there is more in the pipeline. We have -- and again I'm just going to mention some names because these are people who are thinking out of the box and they come to us with ideas, and it's our job in administration to try to support it. Like Jeff Johnston's Study Abroad program; Michele Green is working on ideas, there's a ton of stimulus money out there that she thinks we can leverage to enhance academic programs. Milt Brown came to us last year with an idea working with a private corporation to do research in geothermal energy sources and supplies, and we're moving forward with that. Jeff Stephens in the National Arboretum has developed a love relationship now with those people, they just think so highly of him and the students. So there are a lot of people thinking out of the box, and I want you to do that. We may not be able to support all of your ideas and projects, but we will certainly give them the due diligence they deserve.
Goal E in the strategic plan talks about values and professional development. And I just spent two days with some of the leadership of this college: department chairs, directors, associate VP's, deans, vice presidents, myself, in working with this specific institute, and they've been on campus before working with some of the faculty in developing programs for our students to be successful. And what I liked about this program is that it talks about change, but it talks about change starting from within. And it goes to the fundamental psychology of how we think and how we can change the way we think to better ourselves and then better the organization. We did two full days of training; we learned a lot about each other and ourselves. We'll do two more days of training, and one of the outcomes I enjoyed was that I recognize we need to get this group together more often because we're all one big team in leading this college. And we will do that.
We also started last year MC evaluations, management confidential evaluations, with the vice presidents and me. This was a pilot project where Faculty Senate Committee, and HR office Wendy Dresser-Rectenwald worked with the Faculty Senate Committee and developed a pilot project where we will conduct, and I pledge to do this and it's in our strategic plan, we will conduct MC evaluations so all people can provide us with feedback on how we're doing. You know, there's always a little consternation just like when you do student evaluations and you read the comments and you say that's not me, we're looking at that these seriously. It's a survey, so we have statistical data and we have comments and we look for patterns. You know, throw the outliers away. But I have to tell you, I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness and the level of professionalism that we received from the feedback. People really trying to help us do our jobs better. And you know, I encourage all of you to participate in it this year and the following year as we're going to try to do this on a staggered basis. But you know, there's some wise guys out there, but throw those out and you really look for the genuine feedback and the patterns that come back and we -- I want you to know that we incorporate -- I incorporated that in my evaluation of the vice presidents this summer in setting goals for next year, so we are paying attention to those evaluations. That was a pilot, there's a lot more work to do on that process, and we'll continue with it.
In reference to Goal B in subsequent desired outcome in the strategic plan to reallocate a million dollars over five years to fund strategic initiatives, we have done by our calculation more than $600,000 this past year, and that's to fund things like our assessment office, our international student advising office, our Institute for Sustainability, our strategic initiatives. One of the downfalls and why people are so skeptical of strategic plans is they say oh, this is all great, but how are you going to fund it? Well, our plan has in it means by which to fund strategic initiatives, and this is one of those areas.
You know, how have we been able to do so much in the last year? We had to cut over the last two fiscal years $1.8 million out of our budget. We have had to reallocate resources to stay the course in the strategic plan. Well, we did it through a number of means. First of all, we knew cuts were coming, so we got out in front of that. We planned for it. There were no surprises to us when we got the word that we had to reduce our budget. We started, if you remember, by trimming administrative costs. We reduced senior level management at the college. We combined some service areas at the college to save money. And that was the first step. We increased revenue. Our enrollment is up. We increased room rates -- these are quiet things that you don't see but have significant impact -- and we're developing a way to use room rate money increases to help offset some of the operating budget stress we're witnessing. We're increasing fundraising and grants. A lot of that, by the way, goes to budget relief too. For example, I talked about the floor being poured. That's going to be a gift in kind. A construction company has verbally made an agreement with me that they're going to provide the labor to pour the floor, so that's a gift. But it goes directly to budget relief because we would of had to pay for that, we would of had to pay for a company to come in and do that. So that's budget relieving, and that's how we can take some of the stress off of our budget.
We did do cost reductions. You can't balance a budget without -- or just increasing revenue and we did reallocation. We cut costs from soft hiring freezes and restructuring. We worked on operating efficiencies. I know that in some areas of the college that's controversial, but let me tell you, we're all going to have to feel a little pain if we want to move the college forward, and that's part of the formula. We have rethought how we manage our reserves, and I went over that last time, I won't spend a lot of time on it, but for example, we rolled over $800,000 this year, and we had a strategy on where that was going to go. We had to use about 160,000 of it to balance our budget. We invested some of that into the strategic initiatives: international student recruitment, marketing, scholarships, and the equipment that I told you about, the $222,000 of academic equipment. These are just highlights, and I'm sorry for the length of this presentation, but I think it's important that we all get caught up on where we are because it's the best of times. And these are just highlights of our accomplishments, and we should all be proud of ourselves for the success we're seeing in all of the four R's: recruitment, retention, revenue, and reputation. Again, for a full accounting of our progress, give us about two weeks to get that assessment, what we call the key performance indicators and how we did, we'll get it up on the website.
Now, even though these are the best of times, there's still a lot to be done. With all we accomplished in our first year of the strategic plan, and it is significant, we will still face challenges. And I say bring 'em on. We are ready. We need to stay the course. We need to keep the powerful momentum going. We need to carry on the appropriate discourse and avoid distractions. We have too much to lose by getting sidetracked. The future is bright and full of hope for our college. It is up to all of us to keep it that way. We can't become complacent. We have to continue to raise the bar. We have to continue to have the good first impressions, whether it's the phone call that someone makes for the first time to the college, the first time they get on the website, the first time they visit the campus, the first time they meet with a faculty member. First impressions are lasting and they make a significant difference on the impression that people walk away with. We will continue to raise the bar, and we will continue to have loftier goals to fulfill our dreams.
I am with you side by side in this journey. We have a strong shared governance culture and a great strategic plan. Those are powerful tools for success. Sure, at times it will be challenging and demanding. Nevertheless, together we can do anything we set our minds to. We can achieve anything we want to achieve and take pride in our accomplishments. I am proud to be a part of this community and serve you and our students. I look forward to another great year.
Thank you very much.