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Initiative 3

Cultivate an environment for institutional thriving.

IN FOCUS:
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16% total enrollment growth since 2011 and 2x greater growth than Gordon's closest Christian college competitor

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6.7% market share (up from 5.3% six years ago) within the Christian College Consortium

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2,424 overall enrollment—including 676 graduate students—among the highest in the College's history

The last five years have contained comprehensive updates across campus —including extensive renovations in Jenks Library to accommodate the new Career and Connection Institute, a number of renovations that benefits Gordon athletics (including Kanas Court, Gedney Hall, and the installation of a new track and turf at Brigham Athletic Field), and a complete upgrade to the dining facilities in Lane Student Center through Tupper Hall. The dining updates were the final phase of a new partnership with Bon Appétit Management Company to expand the scope and quality of food offerings at Gordon. The College also relaunched the Gordon College Foundation to create additional opportunities for planned giving and other resources to benefit the College financially. The work of the Foundation has included multiple land transaction considerations, including the purchase and sale of land near Chebacco Lake and proposed transactions involving land owned by the College at Exit 16 and Exit 17 along Route 128.

Goals regarding the study and launch of a campaign have been stunningly successful, with the College initiating the largest campaign in the College’s history. Four out of the five top gifts ever given to the College came during the duration of the strategic plan, including a $10 million gift – the largest single payment ever made to the College. The College’s donor base has grown by 26%, unrestricted giving has grown by 40%, annual overall giving by 69%, and annual unrestricted giving by 127%. The campaign is now poised to conclude early and well over goal.

Investment performance for the College has been excellent and has supplemented extraordinary giving to increase the College’s endowment by 263% over the past decade. During the same stretch, net assets have nearly tripled. After adjusting to be more relevant to our peers, the Investment Subcommittee continues to work to place Gordon’s endowment return performance in the top one-third of all colleges and universities compared to NACUBO over a three-year trailing average.

Undergraduate enrollment has ebbed and flowed, and market realities have been made more difficult by two recruiting cycles during a global pandemic. First-year student retention, however, has steadily improved (nearing 85%). Continued efforts are being made to further the retention rate through the establishment of advising groups and events tailored to strengthen student relationships with new department chairs. This has put on hold select goals that dealt with increasing residence hall capacity, though significant campus network and technology investments have been made, with phone, wireless, and security systems all receiving significant overhauls in the last five years. 

The College has made very significant strides in strengthening the long-term financial foundation of the College. But at the same time, difficulties in undergraduate enrollment have not allowed the College to regularly improve compensation and has caused the College to put retirement contributions on hold for the current fiscal year. This will likely be an important area for a future administration to focus on. We believe the Gordon Game Change—a 33% reduction of annual tuition introduced for the 2021-22 academic year—will significantly improve the College’s ability to attract and retain mission-appropriate students.

new CCI space

Campus Enhancements
2018 was a year of comprehensive campus updates—including extensive renovations in Jenks Library to accommodate the new Career and Connection Institute, the installation of a new track and turf at Brigham Athletic Center, and a complete upgrade to the dining facilities in Lane Student Center. The dining updates were the final phase of a new partnership with Bon Appétit Management Company to expand the scope and quality of food offerings at Gordon. Also in 2018, Gordon relaunched the Gordon College Foundation to create additional opportunities for planned giving and other resources to benefit the College financially, and completed a feasibility study for a comprehensive fundraising campaign.

$64M
overall giving since FY15
5,845 total gifts
in FY18 (highest in 10+ years)
$1.2M
annual fund giving growth since FY15
#1 endowment growth rate
compared to peer institutions
$12.5M
total endowment growth since FY15
80% increase
in number of donors from FY15 to FY18

THE STARTING POINT: INITIAL GOALS

  • Enrollment of 2,020 degree-seeking undergraduates
  • Improve first-year student retention to 88 percent (to 92 percent stretch)
  • Net tuition revenue per student should increase by 5 percent
  • Realize investment returns for endowment assets of 5.5 percent annually
  • Offer more competitive staff salaries
  • Increase the institutional contribution for employee TIAA-CREF retirement accounts to 6 percent
  • Significantly increase the size of Gordon’s endowment
  • Complete feasibility study and launch comprehensive campaign
  • Increase classroom space, dining capacity, and residence hall capacity proportional to enrollment growth
  • Upgrade campus network and classroom technologies to remain consistent with current standards
  • Recruit, train and retain IT talent to deliver new systems on time and sustain existing infrastructure
  • Communicate sustainability at Gordon strategically by maintaining our status on Princeton Review’s “Green Colleges” list and pursuing new sustainability certifications
  • Strategize with dining services to create a sustainable kitchen service such as reducing food service waste; local food sourcing; and/or dedicated vegetarian/vegan food area
  • Annually support partnerships with Hamilton, Wenham, and other local communities through student, faculty, and staff-initiated projects
  • Implement a system to support a data-oriented approach to planning course sizes and scheduling
  • Target the percentage of all classes that have between 10 and 19 students to 50 percent
  • Develop a community relations program and strategy for the North Shore

STANDOUT ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Renovations in virtually every building across campus—including Jenks, Bennett, Brigham, and Lane
  • Launch and (soon) complete the most successful fundraising campaign in the College’s history
  • 263% endowment growth over the past decade
  • Steadily improving first-year student retention
  • Gordon Game Change, which makes Gordon more affordable to more families than it has been for over fifty years

DISAPPOINTMENTS

  • Challenges in growing undergraduate enrollment
  • Inability to invest in our people in the way we would like