To advance as an institution, we retreat (sort of). We don't retreat backwards, but we withdraw to a special place--apart from Proctor--where we consider this community: its strengths and assets; the changing landscape in which we operate; opportunities for future greatness. Six years ago, a cross-constituency retreat at Wild Harbor, Falmouth, Massachusetts focused on financial sustainability in light of new realities. This weekend, seventy-five trustrees, faculty, administrators, parents and alumni huddled at the lovely residence of past Board Chair Mark Loehr. Facilitated by Bob MacArthur of Birch Corner Associates, this retreat envisioned Proctor's future through a wider lens.
Focus groups explored strengths, challenges and strategies for Proctor's advancement in six catagories: academics, athletics, experiential education, residential life, enrollment and financial aid. Much of the small-group activity occured in the hayloft and former horse stalls of an immaculate barn on the property. The athletics group at work:
Terry Stoecker takes notes for the enrollment team.
Sunday, after reports from each of the focus groups, a general session identified general themes and invited comments.
A great deal of excitement was expressed for the kind of purposeful decision-making enabled by the retreat, decision-making that comes as we launch a new capital campaign that promises to advance Proctor to new prominence. It is understood that Proctor will flourish to the extent that it is known to the world, because--regardless of buildings and (ultimately) even people--it has an enduring "soul" that is not replicable by others elsewhere. Proctor is not simply great; it is important.
Assistant Head of School Anne Swayze makes a point.