OT Just Saw Susan Herbst Speak at UConn Stamford | The Boneyard

OT Just Saw Susan Herbst Speak at UConn Stamford

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Just got back from the alumni event in Stamford. Overall I had pretty high expectations based on what I've been reading and she delivered a good speech hitting all the high notes in regards to academics, marketing, research and athletics. Good sense of humor too, she joked that by not having a Q&A she can dodge all the conference realignment questions and she remains "committed to strengthening the Big East then we'll see what happens".

A couple of things she said that needed to be said:
- Our endowment is laughable for a school of this size. She said that to normalize it we would need to triple it from 3xxM to 1B. It is no wonder she fired Hathaway, she put a lot of emphasis on fundraising.
- Our marketing is 'confused', she didn't use the exact term but she talked about a messaging problem or lack thereof. She said we can barely reach Fairfield County with it, let alone the rest of the country or the world. True story. She compared us to the Duke of the 80s when all they were known about was athletics and now they're also known for top academics. Hard to deny that Duke is up there now. She has a full committee working on marketing with quite a few NYC folks on it which is promising.
- Talked about the momentum in the US rankings and said she wants us in the Top 10 publics as the next target. Talked about balancing out research with student focus.

Overall I was very impressed with how concise and to the point it came across all in less than 15 minutes. Definitely the straight-forward no BS, almost pragmatic type of approach that can get us to where we need to be. Now let's hope her relationships and pull are as good as her public-speaking skills when push comes to shove.
 
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Just got back from the alumni event in Stamford. Overall I had pretty high expectations based on what I've been reading and she delivered a good speech hitting all the high notes in regards to academics, marketing, research and athletics. Good sense of humor too, she joked that by not having a Q&A she can dodge all the conference realignment questions and she remains "committed to strengthening the Big East then we'll see what happens".

A couple of things that she said that needed to be said:
- Our endowment is laughable for a school of this size. She said that to normalize it we would need to triple it from 3xxM to 1B. It is no wonder she fired Hathaway, she put a lot of emphasis on fundraising.
- Our marketing is 'confused', she didn't use the exact term but she talked about a messaging problem or lack thereof. She said we can barely reach Fairfield County with it, let alone the rest of the country or the world. True story. She compared us to the Duke of the 80s when all they were known about was athletics and now they're also known for top academics. Hard to deny that Duke is up there now. She has a full committee working on marketing, lots of NYC folks on it which is promising.
- Talked about the momentum in the US rankings and said she wants us in the Top 10 publics as the next target. Talked about balancing out research with student focus.

Overall I was very impressed with how concise and to the point it came across all in less than 15 minutes. Definitely the straight-forward no BS, almost pragmatic type of approach that can get us to where we need to be. Now let's hope her relationships and pull when push comes to shove are as good as her public-speaking skills.

kudos Gabect:
appreciate you sharing this tid-bit
this woman's hot stuff
definitely in favor of the straight talk, now lets hope she can deliver
 

Dann

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i bet susan wears the pants in the relationship :)

great info, thanks gabe!
 
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Good stuff. Unfortunately, athletics are a big part of a lot of her goals whether we want to admit it or not, and that will require a lifeboat from the ACC or Big 10.
 
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I like her approach to marketing UConn...an approach that is LONG over due! I am VERY interested to see how that plan plays out.
 
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Absolutely a top rate administrator. Uconn has always reminded me of your basic Connecticut state park. No running water, no maintenance, very primitive. It seems like Wall Street has arrived. I like state parks to be primitive, not the state U.
 
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Absolutely a top rate administrator. Uconn has always reminded me of your basic Connecticut state park. No running water, no maintenance, very primitive. It seems like Wall Street has arrived. I like state parks to be primitive, not the state U.
weirdest analogy of the day
 

fleudslipcon

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Great report. She has already been decisive in her approach to the University. From what I've seen from her she is a great asset. I hope this will continue.
 

fleudslipcon

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Absolutely a top rate administrator. Uconn has always reminded me of your basic Connecticut state park. No running water, no maintenance, very primitive. It seems like Wall Street has arrived. I like state parks to be primitive, not the state U.
But primitive state parks are not where you can take a gal to dance......
 
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The thing I find interesting is that every time I see President Herbst talk about her vision for UConn as a school it screams B1G....even if the ACC is viewed by her as a better future conference option. The B1G model is also the same model schools like UNC, UVa, and UMD also follow. If she can make UConn into a research institution like that while keeping in-state tuition affordable it will be an awesome thing! The marketing strategies will take care of themselves...and if we can own the back pages of the NY Post and NY Daily News again during tne Final Four like we did last year...maybe even claim a true stake in the NYC market. All we have to do is show we can win and be competitive on the football field. These things will truely make us marketable and desireable as an expansion candidate....allowing that issue to take care of itself.
 

Waquoit

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Gawd, you guys are easy. Style before substance. All this talk about her visions. Too many visions and they put you the looney bin. Or a convent. Her and her new AD had no clue about conference realignment until it slapped them in the face. Since then it's been amateur hour. We need a pro and we're stuck with a rookie.
 
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Gawd, you guys are easy. Style before substance. All this talk about her visions. Too many visions and they put you the looney bin. Or a convent. Her and her new AD had no clue about conference realignment until it slapped them in the face. Since then it's been amateur hour. We need a pro and we're stuck with a rookie.

Hathaway was a pro?
 
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Waquoit -

I get your point about style vs substance, but you need a vision to get everyone focused on a goal. This is management 101. Seems to me UConn has lacked a vision for a long time. Lew Perkins had an athletic vision for UConn and then he got people to buy in and execute. Clearly, the pressure will be on Herbst to deliver. I'm optimistic, but you have every right to be pessimistic.

As for conference realignment, didn't she fire the AD she inherited BEFORE she was even swore in as President? Did she create the ill will with BC? No, but she reached out to BC to try to fix the relationship. Did she not get us into the AAU in order to make us a target for the Big 10? No, but she will target inclusion.

I believe Herbst is the right person for UConn at this time and I support her. I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and increase my donations to UConn this year. We need alumni, students, faculty, the state, and residents to get behind Herbst and push UConn forward. This is not just about athletics, but about UConn helping lead Connecticut out of it's economic malaise.
 

nelsonmuntz

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I think Herbst is very good on the school part, but clearly a bit out of her depth on the athletic department side. I think she viewed it as a fun annex to the school that would help with marketing, and in her first 6 months on the job it has likely consumed her and become a monster pain in the butt.
 
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Waquoit,
You must be a lot of fun at parties. Whenever I read one of your posts I picture

thumbnail.aspx


Lighten up, dude.
 
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You're wrong about her take on athletics. She understands very well how they play in the grand scheme. That's why she moved so quickly on Hathaway. And don't you think the endowment grows more quickly with us in the Big 10? I've been saying since the beginning of this conference sojourn that our destiny is in the Big 10. That's the template she has laid out for the school, and that's where we will ultimately be.
And for those who complained that UConn wasn't getting any buzz in Fairfield County, lets watch the new focus and direction of our ad campaigns, promotional material and fundraising efforts. For someone looking to boost the endowment, paying a lot more attention to NYC and Fairfield County makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Like Willie Sutton replied when they asked him why he robbed banks--"Cause that's where the money is!"
 

UConnSportsGuy

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There has definately been a huge shift at UConn since Herbst has arrived (in a good way). The people I talk to on campus say that there is just a different tone and confidence around Storrs. Those that have met with her personally have had nothing but great things to say about her.

There have been a lot of changes at UConn even in the short time Herbst has been there.

Also, I think her new vision is definately being pushed down the organization as changes are being made at all levels...which is a good thing.

Anecdotally....I am a grad of the UConn business school and work for a Fortune 50 company in Chicago. You would think that I would be hit up often by UConn and the business school for fundraising opportunities (primarily) and maybe some networking pushes to give opportunities to upcoming UConn grads. However, that was surprisingly not the case. Before this year, I had not been contacted by them at all for dialogues like that. In the past couple of months that has changed though. I have received many personalized emails and mailings from the UConn School of Business (not just the generic form letter everyone receives from UConn for donations). I am even meeting with the one of the heads of the Development Office at the School of Business here in Chicago next week (they called to set it up with me). [Unfortunately for them, they picked the wrong time to reach out to me, as I am about to have my first child and my wife is quiting her job to stay at home....so I will have very little extra money and time in the short term future.] However, I don't think it is a coincidence that after all this time never getting connected by the University...they are now trying to establish and strengthen the relationship with their grads and potential donors.

Herbst has laid down significant challenges and goals, and one of them is the endowment and the connection with valuable grads and donors. There is a clear change in strategy and culture at UConn...and that is definately a good thing!
 
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You're wrong about her take on athletics. She understands very well how they play in the grand scheme. That's why she moved so quickly on Hathaway. And don't you think the endowment grows more quickly with us in the Big 10? I've been saying since the beginning of this conference sojourn that our destiny is in the Big 10. That's the template she has laid out for the school, and that's where we will ultimately be.
And for those who complained that UConn wasn't getting any buzz in Fairfield County, lets watch the new focus and direction of our ad campaigns, promotional material and fundraising efforts. For someone looking to boost the endowment, paying a lot more attention to NYC and Fairfield County makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Like Willie Sutton replied when they asked him why he robbed banks--"Cause that's where the money is!"

I'm curious as to why you think the endowment would grow if UConn were in the Big 10? Schools with large endowments are generally the beneficiaries of alumni largely motivated to donate money in order to ensure their offspring get an edge in admission decisions http://papers.nber.org/papers/w13152. I don't see how joining the Big 10 would suddenly make UConn selective enough to spur that motivation.

What UConn has going for it and what has been the driver of its success over the last 15 years has been tuition inflation at private schools. As the price to go to a competitive-but-not-elite college has shot through the roof, more and more of the kids who would have paid $15K -$20K to go to such a school 20 years ago are now going to UConn instead of spending at the current price of $50k. Advertising doesn't seem to me to be much of a driver one way or another in college selection: the kids aren't choosing between laundry detergents, they are making six figure life decisions. The president of the school doesn't have to do that much more than not screw up when market forces are funneling a better class of students to UConn.
 

Waquoit

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The president of the school doesn't have to do that much more than not screw up when market forces are funneling a better class of students to UConn.

We have a better class of student going to UConn than we did 30 years ago? 20 years ago? Doubtful. A student with a higher sense of entitlement maybe.
 
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Gawd, you guys are easy. Style before substance. All this talk about her visions. Too many visions and they put you the looney bin. Or a convent. Her and her new AD had no clue about conference realignment until it slapped them in the face. Since then it's been amateur hour. We need a pro and we're stuck with a rookie.

How is the job hunting going Mr. Hathaway?
 
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We have a better class of student going to UConn than we did 30 years ago? 20 years ago? Doubtful. A student with a higher sense of entitlement maybe.

In 1990, the average SAT for incoming freshman was 1031 and in 2010 the average was 1220. If you figure that the re-centered SAT is about 100 points easier in 2010 than it was in 1990 (not sure if that's right, but it's my guess), the average is still almost 100 points better than it was 20 years ago. The 25th and 75th percentile scores might be more telling, but I couldn't find those for 1990.
 

CL82

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[[Unfortunately for them, they picked the wrong time to reach out to me, as I am about to have my first child and my wife is quiting her job to stay at home....so I will have very little extra money and time in the short term future.] [/quote]

...and very little sleep!

Congratulations!!
 
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