Fall-Term Community Letter

December 11, 2015
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artistic S, established 1772

Dear members of the Salem family,

The Salem campus is bright and alive with the colors of the holiday season. I am writing to give you an update on the fall semester at Salem Academy and College.

We began the year with a ceremony to mark the dedication of the McHugh Sisters Flats, the first College residence built on the Salem campus in fifty years. On that Sunday afternoon, students, alumnae, faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors, city officials, and friends of Salem gathered at the corner of Church and Cemetery Streets to celebrate this milestone in Salem’s history. Immediately after the dedication ceremony, the new residents of McHugh unloaded their vehicles and moved into their new home. The 32,000-square-foot building is a wonderful combination of traditional Moravian architecture and twenty-first-century innovation that connects Salem to the past and the future, and we are thrilled that such a beautiful building graces our campus.

We are pleased to welcome Sallie Craig Tuton Huber C’68 as the new chair of the Board of Trustees for 2016–18. Ms. Huber holds a bachelor of arts in sociology/psychology from Salem College and a master of science in public health in maternal and child health/population from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2007 and served as chair of the Board of Visitors. We are delighted that Sallie Craig will be at the helm of our governing board.

I am saddened to report that two of our esteemed Academy administrators will leave Salem next summer. Head of School Karl Sjolund will leave at the end of the academic year to assume the position of Head of School at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee, in Sewanee, Tennessee. The Salem community will miss his dedication, his kindness, and his humor, but we are pleased about this new opportunity for the Sjolund family, and we wish them all the very best as they make their new home in Tennessee.

Assistant Head of School and Dean of Students Mary Lorick (“Miss T”) Thompson will also leave the Academy at the end of 2015–16, when she retires after forty-four years of dedicated service to Salem. Our community holds Miss T in the highest regard, and she will be sorely missed. We have posted the Head of School position, and we will post Miss T’s position in due course. We have time on our side, and in order for the transition period to be as smooth as possible we plan to have their successors in place before Karl and Miss T leave Salem next summer. We will provide updates on the searches on the Academy’s website.

We have many reasons to look to our future with confidence. Enrollment at the Academy is the highest that it has been since the economic downturn that began in 2008. Day-student enrollment has steadily increased over the last five years, and this fall we witnessed a 53 percent increase over last year in new day students at the Academy. At the College, 212 new traditional-age students enrolled this fall, bringing our traditional-age enrollment to the highest in our history.

Our Academy students continue to be recognized for their academic achievement, their outstanding test scores, and their participation in academic activities beyond our campus. Last summer, eight students accompanied mathematics teacher and Salem College alumna Kris Sorrells to Buxton, NC to work with sixty elementary and middle-school students at a weeklong STEM camp, and this fall the robotics team was invited to demonstrate their skills with 3-D printing and programming at the Barnes and Noble Mini Maker Faire.

Enrollment numbers for the German, Latin, and Classical Greek courses that we reintroduced at Salem College this semester have been impressive, with seventeen students enrolled in German, seven in Classical Greek, and thirty-six in Latin.

Also at the College, a renovated laboratory for the Department of Psychology, made possible by a grant from the Cobb Foundation, opened in the Rondthaler Science Building. The lab features new furnishings; equipment for testing, clinical observations, and biofeedback data collection for faculty and student research; and space for study groups and student collaboration. In September, the Cannon Foundation awarded a grant for the purchase of equipment that will support teaching and research in biology, biochemistry, and chemistry. Because this equipment will be moved into the new science building after its completion, the generosity of these grants will have a tremendous impact on Salem researchers for many years to come.

We have continued throughout the summer and fall to work on the twenty-five-year master campus plan with Van Yahres Studios, and we will be discussing it with the Salem community after the first of the year. The plan includes a series of facility renovations and additions and will serve as a guide to Salem Academy and College for the next twenty-five years.

The Women of Purpose campaign continues to gain momentum, and I am pleased to report that the campaign has raised a total of $34,677,000 through the end of November. Many enthusiastic alumnae and friends of Salem attended the regional launches that were held in Charlotte in the early summer and in Raleigh this fall. Campaign initiatives to complete the fundraising for the McHugh Sisters Flats and to provide for capital and technological infrastructure improvements, support for faculty and for academic programs, scholarships, and annual financial growth will continue throughout the coming months. We celebrated the groundbreaking for the new tennis center on December 2, 2015, and we plan to have the courts ready for competitive play in 2016. We appreciate every gift we receive, large or small, because each one brings us one step closer to securing a bright future for Salem.

As loyal alumnae and friends of Salem, you can support the Academy and College with each purchase that you make on amazon.com through the AmazonSmile program. Enrollment in the program is easy through smile.amazon.com. When you select Salem Academy and College as the charitable organization of your choice, Amazon will donate a percentage of each eligible purchase to Salem at no cost to you. The prices charged through AmazonSmile are the same as those charged for purchases on the regular Amazon site.

I enjoy every opportunity that I have to meet with alumnae and friends who believe so strongly in Salem’s future and who have committed themselves to our success. I am looking forward to Salem Ever events in Savannah; Charleston; Hilton Head; Washington, DC; and New York City during the first half of 2016.

As we approach the holidays, I wish you and your families peace, goodwill, and happiness, and I thank you for your support of our extraordinary institution.

Yours ever for Salem ever,

D. E. Lorraine Sterritt, PhDPresident