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Earlham Takes a Big Step Towards Financial Sustainability

December 21, 2018

Earlham College took an important step towards financial sustainability when its Board of Trustees approved resolutions to reduce expenses and create a new plan to envision the future of the College.

The financial sustainability effort, which grew out of a broadly consultative process involving faculty, students, staff and administration, will reduce the College’s budget by $4.35 million dollars for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The College’s Board of Trustees approved the financial sustainability plan during a special executive session on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, after receiving specific recommendations from Interim President Avis Stewart ’74 and his Cabinet. In a process of intentionally broad participation, members of the Earlham community have had many opportunities to provide input and participate in conversations about the serious financial issues facing the institution.

“We believed that a process minimizing top-down input was the only way we could address our financial challenges,” notes Stewart. “Once again, the Earlham community showed its ability to come together during difficult times.

“Throughout this process, the Cabinet, committee chairs from the Board of Trustees, and I have listened carefully to many points of view. We considered staffing models created by faculty and sought input from a group of professors, administrators and staff members about administrative expenses. We also gave students opportunities to participate in these conversations. The financial sustainability plan that was approved was much stronger because of the broad participation by the campus community. There’s no doubt that this was as challenging a semester as the College has seen in many years, but I think we should be very proud of this inclusive and thoughtful process. We’ve made some difficult decisions. We are confident, however, that Earlham will continue to offer incredible educational opportunities to its students in perpetuity.”

In addition to approving the budget resolution, the Board of Trustees recognized the importance of the creation of a new curricular and institutional plan. The framework for this compelling curricular plan will need to be in place by the end of the 2019 Spring Semester, and a detailed curricular plan and an updated college-wide plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their Fall 2019 Board meeting for approval. The focus of the College’s planning will be to shape the curriculum and operations in a way that will provide an exceptional educational experience to current and future students and do so in a financially sustainable way.

“Earlham’s path forward needs to start with a faculty-led process to determine what an Earlham education will look like in the decades to come,” says David Stump ’72, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “My fellow trustees and I are impressed with, and encouraged by, the leadership that community members have shown during this budget cutting process. I am confident that faculty members will bring considerable energy, thoughtfulness and innovation to bear as they plan for the College’s future.”

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. We rank 7th nationally by Princeton Review for Best Classroom Experience and 22nd by U.S. News and World Report for commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and


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