Trustees approve honorary degree, progress on capital plans
The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees ended the year by approving an honorary degree for one of the University’s most accomplished graduates and laying the groundwork for campus improvements.
Col. Brenda Hollis (Ret., U.S. Air Force), who graduated in 1968, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters in recognition of her service to the nation and her contributions to international criminal law. Hollis spent more than two decades as an Air Force prosecutor before joining the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal investigating, indicting and prosecuting high-ranking officials for war crimes and genocide. She was a member of the tribunal for former Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic, followed by the trial of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor for events in Sierra Leone, in which she served as Chief Prosecutor for Sierra Leone.
“Brenda Hollis is an inspiration and a role model for all of us at BGSU,” said board chair Debra Ryan. “We’re proud of her achievements and her commitment to bringing justice to parts of the world that have suffered under cruel dictators.”
The board also approved the hiring of Dr. Marie Huff as dean of the College of Health and Human Services and full professor with tenure in the Department of Human Services. Huff will begin work at BGSU Jan. 1.
Also approved were amendments to the Academic Charter bringing it into alignment with the faculty collective bargaining agreement and addressing those areas of faculty shared academic governance not covered by the agreement. Faculty Senate had previously approved the changes.
The University is moving ahead with plans to create a new home for the School of Media and Communication, currently housed in West Hall, and to create space at BGSU Firelands for the Allied Health and Sciences program, in response to the growing need for health professionals. The board of trustees gave approval Dec. 6 for the next steps in each project, which are part of the BGSU master plan.
The trustees approved funding for the renovation of South Hall to accommodate the School of Media and Communication. In addition to equipping the building with the necessary facilities appropriate to teach media and communication, such as audio/video and media-effects labs, the project will also include an active learning classroom and thermal efficiency improvements.
The new teaching spaces and offices are targeted for completion for fall semester 2015, while the radio and television studios will be fully operational in late 2015.
The estimated cost for the project is $24 million, of which $13 million is construction costs and $5 million in equipment, plus other costs. Of the funding, $13 million is to come from state capital funds and the remainder from the issuance of long-term debt.
West Hall will be demolished following the school’s move into South Hall.
For the Firelands campus, the trustees approved a change in plans for Allied Health and Sciences spaces.
Instead of constructing a new building as originally planned, Firelands will now maximize use of underutilized spaces in existing buildings and build a two-story addition to the North Building to accommodate the core science curriculum in support of the Allied Health Program. The West Building will be renovated for Allied Health programs such as nursing and radiologic technology. Active learning classrooms and offices are also in the plan.
The overall cost of the project is $15.75 million, with funding from the BGSU Firelands reserves, private fund-raising, and state capital funds.
In other action, the board adopted a University Debt Policy that provides guidelines and allows the University to utilize a variety of debt structures. Although BGSU has issued a modest amount of debt over the past 10-20 years compared to other Ohio public universities, the significant number of upcoming capital projects included in the various campus master plans will require both private donor support and debt financing, according to CFO Sheri Stoll. The new policy will provide valuable guidance in debt-planning efforts, she said.
The trustees also approved a six-year capital plan taking BGSU from 2015 through 2020. It encompasses such upgrades as, on the Bowling Green campus, renovations to the Traditions Buildings and expansion of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union to, eventually, a new building for the College of Business Administration, and at Firelands, the Allied Health and Sciences Program facilities.
In other trustee action, “Aye, Ziggy Zoomba” was voted a second official fight song of the University, to serve alongside “Forward, Falcons.”