The current Board of Regents is made up of 52 regents and three executives. According to Susan Fitzgerald, senior advisor to the President, “The Board of Regents are a group of what we call friends of the University, so they are people who have a vested interest in its survival and making it better.”
Fitzgerald says that the Board’s by-laws require the Board to keep between 24 and 60 members each year. These members are both local business people and University alumni – some in the area and others who fly in for the meetings.
Regents must be nominated to join the board. “Really anyone can bring a name forward,” says Fitzgerald. “It usually comes from the President, then the governance committee votes on whether to accept them as a regent or not, and then they must be approved by the full board as well.”
The decisions made by these regents affect almost every aspect of campus life. “They really are Walt Harrison’s supervisor,” she says. “They don’t get involved in the kind of day-to-day things that go on, but any big issues that have to be decided, they are involved in those.”
The regents make major campus decisions like construction projects, budgeting, and strategic planning. The Board of Regents has the final say on any major project on the campus. She says there’s also spots on the board for students – one grad student and two undergrads. SGA releases applications for undergraduates in the spring.
“There’s a series of questions…you know, why do you want to be a regent? What can you bring to the table?” Fitzgerald says. From there, selected student candidates will be interviewed; the committee will make recommendations to the board, and the board will choose the students who will serve.
Fitzgerald says that freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are interested in becoming student regents should look out for applications coming in the spring semester. Student regents are expected to serve a full year, and have the same rights and responsibilities as the rest of the board.