Samford University's board of trustees approved purchase of land in Germany and received the annual financial audit in an otherwise routine business meeting as part of its annual retreat Sept. 13-14 in Prattville.
Trustees gave final approval for the purchase of a tract of land in Elstall, Germany, on the outskirts of Berlin, for the future construction and development of an international study center. The vision is to develop a site similar to Samford's successful 20-year-old study center in London, England. Plans are being made to construct a facility that will accommodate students and faculty for semester-abroad programs, Samford President Thomas E. Corts told trustees.
"The property is well-situated in what was formerly East Germany with regular trains to downtown Berlin," said Joseph W. Mathews, Jr., Samford's vice president for business affairs. He said the property was near the historic Olympic Stadium, site of the 1936 summer Olympic Games "where Alabamian Jesse Owens astounded the world" with his track and field performances.
Trustees also received the annual independent financial audit reports from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and listened to reports from the general board committees.
Mathews reported that University finances continue to be solid. Samford completed the 2004 fiscal year with $400,876,055 in total assets. Samford also reported total expenses for the year as $92,486,511 with gross income from tuition and fees of $62,731,758. Gifts, endowment investment income, and sales and services combined with tuition to produce $97,970,081 in total revenue. The largest donor to Samford in 2003-04 was the Alabama Baptist State Convention, whose churches provided $4.9 million to the University's operating budget.
The total value of the University endowment as of May 31, 2004, was $232,434,107. The endowment gained 15.74% for the fiscal year. Endowment performance exceeded the benchmark, the Consumer Price Index plus 6%, by 6.51%.
With ongoing conservative fiscal management the University continues its strong recent history of modest tuition, balanced budgets and favorable bond ratings, Mathews said.
Don Mott, vice president of facilities, reported more than $6.3 million has been invested in campus facility projects since June 2003. Mott also reported on preliminary planning for additional on-campus parking and said plans are being reviewed to maximize the numbers of spaces with access, lighting and drainage, Mott added.
The retreat continues a tradition of extended overnight sessions once a year. The Samford trustee board includes 36 active members and 11 life members who have been trustees more than 20 years.