November 7, 2002

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Straumanis announces new fundraising effort at Antioch

Joan Straumanis

Last month during a convocation, Antioch College President Joan Straumanis emphasized the same points that officials of the North Central Association (NCA), an accreditation group, had highlighted — after touring the campus — as problems that Antioch must deal with in the near future: minimal institutional research, self-governance within Antioch University, a shortage of resources and proper facilities and low enrollment.

“I actually breathed a sigh of relief because they didn’t mention what we all truly take pride in at Antioch, our academics,” said Straumanis. But Straumanis said she wasn’t surprised by what NCA officials did mention. “All roads lead to enrollment management,” she said, referring to Antioch’s low enrollment, a problem the college has experienced for the last two decades.

Speaking before a crowd of 200 on Oct. 23, also known as “Community Day” or the middle of the term at Antioch, Straumanis also discussed some of the structural problems at the college. A cleaning and renovation project at the Spalt Building, which contains offices and student housing, has taken longer than originally anticipated. In past years, mold and sanitation problems in Spalt and Presidents Hall have caused health problems for many students.

Straumanis said that one of the towers on Main Building had recently undergone emergency construction. The tower located directly above her office had been tipping for a few months due to its age. “I couldn’t stand the symbolism of a tower crashing down under my administration,” Straumanis said.

Straumanis also presented a fundraising plan that involves more than just raising money. “Even very rich people don’t feel so rich these days,” Straumanis said. In place of monetary donations, Straumanis proposed the creation of the “Committee of 150,” which would consist of getting people to offer Antioch services if they could not make monetary donations.

The committee is named in honor of the college’s upcoming sesquicentennial, Straumanis said.

In addition, a public relations group has already drafted a report on how Antioch could improve its PR and a designer has created new signs for many of the buildings around campus. Straumanis urged anyone with something to contribute to step forward.

While the convocation address is usually presented only once after the arrival of a new president, Straumanis said that when she gave her original speech last February many of the students now on campus and some staff members were away on co-op or on sabbatical. “There should be a time people can hear from the president,” Straumanis said.

—Michael Hogan Jr.