The Trent University Board of Governors convened for its third regular meeting of the academic year on February 2, 2024, at the Symons Campus in Peterborough, where the highlight was the announcement of Dr. Cathy Bruce as the University's ninth president and vice-chancellor, effective July 1, 2024.
Board chair Debra Cooper Burger expressed her gratitude to the Presidential Search Committee for their work in this critical selection process. She also highlighted the Board of Governors’ Leadership Scholarship fund, which raised a total of $30,660, surpassing its goal by $5,660. This achievement reflects the commitment of Board members to support the development of future leaders at Trent.
In his opening remarks, President Leo Groarke spoke to the recent government announcement introducing caps on international student permits, which continues to evolve as further details are released. He also highlighted several recent events, including the grand opening of Trent Durham’s Advanced Learning Centre in downtown Oshawa, an Eagle feather ceremony which continues to enhance Trent’s relationships with Indigenous communities, the Momentous Europe Alumni Townhall held virtually, and the well-attended East vs. West Bank hockey game, demonstrating strong student engagement and community spirit.
Additional highlights from the February 2 meeting included:
Budget & Financial Update
The Board received a report on the University's financial position as of November 30, 2023, and projections toward year-end. Current trends indicate enrolment tracking 2% higher than planned, driven by growth in international enrolment and postgraduate certificates. The University will allocate the projected $8M gain toward needed resources to address unplanned enrolment growth, university capacity, and other pressures including deferred maintenance and identified capital projects.
A Stable Credit Rating, Now Seven Years in a Row
Morningstar DBRS reaffirmed Trent University’s “A” issuer rating and senior unsecured debentures rating with a stable trend for the seventh consecutive year. This underscores Trent's strong financial position, with a low debt burden highlighting the strength of the University’s credit rating.
Completion of Allan Marshall Pool Reconstruction Project
As part of a report on capital project updates, the completion of the Allan Marshall pool reconstruction project in December 2023 was highlighted. The pool is now open for aquatics and community programming and features a new accessible ramp, headwall, and starting blocks, along with system upgrades to meet Health Department standards and support an improved environment for competitive events. An official reopening celebration will be held in March.
2024/25 Operating Budget Update
The Board received a report on planning for the 2024/25 budget cycle, which is currently underway, focusing on a three-year planning cycle. For planning purposes, modest enrolment increases of approximately 4% are projected for 2024/25 and 0.75% in 2025/26, with levels remaining flat in 2026/27. Despite ongoing fixed ministry operating grants and a tuition freeze, the preliminary budget projects a positive fiscal outlook, with funds available to make much-needed investments to support allocations for enrolment growth, operational needs, and strategic developments. The proposed budget will be presented for review and approval at the March 2024 Finance and Property and Board of Governors meetings.