On December 12, at the request of President and Chancellor F. King
Alexander, LSU Alumni Association President and CEO Cliff Vannoy made a
presentation to the LSU Board of Supervisors regarding the Association’s
initiatives and to answer questions concerning a special CPA audit.
Mr. Vannoy’s remarks to the
LSU Board of Supervisors follow.
Report to the LSU Board of Supervisors
December 12, 2014
will start by expressing my regret regarding the bad press that was generated
for LSU when a law suit was filed by a former employee that discredited the LSU
Alumni Association (LSUAA), its staff, and the Board of Directors. We believe
that you will see that the LSUAA leadership and Board of Directors have been
very prudent in our responsibilities. The law suit and its allegations made by
the plaintiff overshadowed the good work done by most staff members and our
you probably know, when the news of the suit was published the board’s executive
committee immediately called in our CPA firm to conduct a special audit. In
addition, our attorney engaged an independent third party audit firm mutually
agreed upon by the University and the Association. The third party audit
included the years 2007 through 2012. In addition, an environmental audit was
conducted. Both the attorney and the third party CPA are on hand today and following
my comments, are available to answer questions you may have.
August 22, 2014, a new day began in the history of the LSU and the LSU Alumni Association.
That was the day that a collaborative venture began between the LSU administration,
faculty, staff, alumni, future alumni, and the men and women of the LSUAA. The
staff and the Board of Directors join me in taking this opportunity to thank
Dr. Alexander for listening, using sound judgment during a firestorm criticism,
and providing feedback and time which enabled an atmosphere of change and
improvement. Together we have all taken the important steps to better serve
following six steps have been taken by the Association staff and Board of
1. Review the policy manual and update it
to ensure legal and moral leadership principles are followed and expected.
Introduce new opportunities for volunteer
engagement and leadership.
3. Reinvigorate alumni chapter
4. Call for a review of the Association to
examine ways to enhance services to LSU, our
alumni, and future alumni.
Plan and budget for remodeling and service
upgrades to the very popular and successful
Cook Hotel and Conference Center.
Partner with the University to enhance
participation of future alumni.
engaged the services of one of the nation’s most experienced human resources professionals
to review and make suggested improvements to the LSUAA employee policy manual. New
employee onboarding procedures have been established and implemented. In
addition, a human resources committee of the Board of Directors was established.
Best practices have been recommended that include but are not limited to:
a member of the staff as a certified human resource professional
Conduct annual employee reviews
Upgrade corrective and disciplinary procedures
Eliminate severance payments
Implement sexual harassment training.
have been made to the Articles of Incorporation and By-laws to streamline and
update the structure of the Association. The Board of Directors enacted term
limits. The nominating committee has an important role to play and will give
consideration to alumni population, geographic locations, professional experience,
and civic and non-profit volunteer board leadership. The desired results are to
provide increased opportunities for alumni service. (See related story on newly
appointed members of the National Board of Directors at http://lsualumni.org/news/Annual-MeetingPast-Chairs-Honored-New-Board-Members-Named-1)
emphasis on outreach to alumni through our worldwide alumni chapter program. In
September we hosted a Chapter Leadership Summit. Fifty-five volunteers around
the country attended and learned about the new initiatives of the Association. The
LSUAA staff shared our pledge to attend local board meetings in person, via
Skype, or conference calls. Additional staff has been assigned new duties to
accomplish this initiative. Chapter leaders had the opportunity to voice
concerns and suggest improvements. We challenged the chapters to create
enthusiasm for increasing the percentage of alumni who donate to LSU.
newly developed joint membership program was emphasized which allows members to
give online and join both the local chapter and National LSU Alumni
Association. As a result, 660 new donors have made online gifts to become joint
members. The potential for success is huge and we will call upon all alumni to
make a difference by supporting this program. Currently, thirty-four key chapters,
including Houston and Dallas, have created the online website connection to
make joint membership available. Additional chapters are scheduled to go live
in early 2015. In fact, Board of Supervisors member Blake Chatelain is among a
group of LSU faithful who are working with the Association to reestablish the
Central Louisiana "CENLA” Alumni Chapter.
have called for a full review of the Association to assess the best possible
ways to serve alumni, future alumni and the University. Consultants have been engaged and are
scheduled to arrive in January. The consultants will suggest best practices and
fresh ideas as to how we may better serve alumni, future alumni, and the
University. The findings will be presented to the Board of Directors and a five-year
strategic plan will be written with an emphasis on engagement, collaboration
and increased participation by alumni and friends.
entrepreneurs currently serving on the Board of Managers of The Cook Hotel have
begun a study of the very successful hotel and conference center with the goal
of modifying facilities and services to deliver finer customer experiences. Once
completed, a plan of action and budget will be established to upgrade accommodations
and amenities that are stellar in the Baton Rouge market. At LSU we deliver
excellence and we intend to offer the best facility and service package
with University departments and future alumni organizations has already begun
to create a new culture of future alumni engagement. It starts when future
alumni arrive on campus. The LSUAA will be a part of key programs like STRIPES
and Bengal Bound. Preliminary plans are underway to create a network of alumni and
friends of LSU who own or operate businesses or who are in positions of
authority to interview and hire LSU graduates first and foremost.
efforts are already in place with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and with
Louisiana Economic Development to fill job openings in Louisiana with LSU
graduates who are eager to return to our great state.
conclusion, the Association will continue to provide scholarships for hundreds
of the best and brightest future alumni who attend LSU, fund study abroad
scholarships, and underwrite international student scholarships. We pledge
continued support of professors who are selected by LSU and are deemed the most
outstanding in their field through the Alumni Professorship program and Alumni
Departmental Professorships. In addition, each year, ten of the most promising
assistant professors are provided a handsome stipend and are recognized by
receiving the Rising Faculty Research Award. This is all done at no cost to the
last order of business today is the independent audit of the LSU Alumni
Association. You have already received a copy of the compete audit and the
summery letter Douglas Williams stating: "the CPA firm which performed the more
extensive review requested by LSU, concluded that "there were no funds or
assets misappropriated to the benefit of Ms. Heath or any of the
LSU community, and all friends and supporters of the Alumni Association, should
find great comfort in the fact that two independent reviews by well-established
and respected accounting firms, found "no evidence of inappropriate use of
Alumni Association funds or assets.”
Ronald Gagnet, CPA Hannis T. Bourgeois and Douglas Williams, Partner -
Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson)
the audience applauded and no questions were asked. The meeting proceeded on to
the next agenda item.