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Antioch College pro tem board members named

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The Antioch College Alumni Association has named the first five members of its proposed pro tem board of trustees for an independent college. The alumni group will name other pro tem board members soon, according to alumni association President Nancy Crow this week, and hopes to have a board in place if the alumni and university trustees reach an agreement on making Antioch College independent of the university. That agreement has not yet been reached, but progress is being made, Crow said.

“It’s an exciting time and I feel very optimistic, although I’m aware that we have a lot of work ahead,” she said.

The new board members, all alumni of the college, are Lee Morgan, Matthew Derr, Frances Degen Horowitz, Barbara Winslow and Atis Folkmanis. These individuals have already given their commitment to join the board, according to Crow, who said that after about 11 or 12 board members have been identified, the pro tem board will take responsibility for adding other members to its rank.

Morgan, of Yellow Springs and St. Cloud, Minn., is a 1966 graduate of the college and former member of the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, or ACCC. He is the recently retired CEO of The Antioch Company, and the grandson of Arthur Morgan, the engineer who turned a dying Antioch College around when he became president in the early 1920s.

Derr, a 1989 Antioch graduate, is vice president for institutional advancement at The Boston Conservatory in Boston. Horowitz, the former co-chair of the ACCC, is the president emerita of the City University of New York Graduate Center. Winslow, also of New York, is an educator who stepped down last year after 12 years on the university board of trustees and was also a member of the ACCC. Folkmanis, a 1962 graduate from Berkeley, Calif., is a biochemist who is best known for having founded Folkmanis Puppets with his wife, Judy.

Alumni leaders sought for the pro tem board persons who, along with exhibiting commitment to Antioch, could either contribute substantial funds to the college or raise them, or who have expertise in higher education, according to Crow, who said the committee charged with creating a board began with a list of 56 potential board members before narrowing them down.

“We have a wealth of remarkable people to choose from,” she said.

The creation of a pro tem board is one of the first steps toward an independent college since the Antioch University Board of Trustees in June passed a resolution requesting that the alumni association come up with a process and a plan for an independent college. That move followed the failure of two alumni attempts to gain autonomy for the college during the year that followed the trustees’ announcement in June 2007 that the college would close this summer due to financial exigency.

Since June 30, the campus has been closed, with the only buildings open the Kettering Building, which houses the university offices, the library, the college’s security office and WYSO, in the basement of the former Fels building.

Beginning in July, Morgan and Derr joined university trustees Dan Fallon and Jack Merselis in a task force that aims to assist in the developement of a letter of intent to present to the trustees by late summer or early fall, Derr said in an Aug. 8 community meeting in Yellow Springs. Participating in the group as “honest broker” is Rick Detweiler, the president of the Great Lakes College Association.

The alumni group has also retained the services of George K. Baum & Company, an investment banking and municipal bond agency, and the legal services of Bond, Schoeneck and King, a law firm that specializes in colleges and universities. According to Crow this week, the alumni will hear the advice of the legal and financial advisors soon.

At the Aug. 8 meeting, Morgan stated that separating the college from the university is a complex task that involves untangling balance sheets, debts and assets. The issues involved include the use of the Antioch name, the status of the college’s bond principal and future fundraising rights of both parties, he said.

The progress made so far toward college independence is the result of the combined efforts of alumni, faculty, staff, students and villagers, according to alumni board communications director Christian Feuerstein.

“We’re building on the work community members have been doing over the past year,” she said.

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