It was a busy day for officials at Northern Michigan University, who attended both an important meeting and the dedication of a freshly established campus structure.
A chief objective of today’s Board of Trustees meeting, the first for new president Fritz Erickson, was to pass the university’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year. Anticipating reduced enrollment, the unanimously passed budget attempts to cut some costs through administrative restructuring and increased use of technology while minimizing the impact to students and academic programs.
“We built a budget that’s a little bit flexible based on the enrollment, and one of the things we had put in place this year was a faculty early retirement incentive plan, which we had 36 faculty take the plan, and so we have some savings from that plan that we’re able to utilize to offset some of the potential reduction in tuition revenue,” NMU vice president for finance and administration Gavin Leach said.
“Universities and boards have a special responsibility to make sure that we live within our means, that we have a balanced budget, and that we make sure our budget really reflects the directions of the University,” Erickson said. “I give great credit to this Board of Trustees for really engaging in that responsibility.”
After the meeting, board and community members headed across campus to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed pavilion honoring Waino Wahtera, an NMU alumnus whose posthumous donation funded the structure.
“It also represents education and the possibilities of education, because when it’s open like it is today, you have a 360 degree vista, and you can see that anywhere you look, there’s opportunities, and the horizon is there for you to pursue and to take on the challenges to get you to a better life,” said Kim Wahtera, Waino’s nephew and executor of his estate.
The new pavilion is located on the former site of Carey Hall, near Waino’s childhood home.