Changing Financial Climates and Three University Presidents Kept Things Interesting!
Lots of people spend their retirement playing golf. Marty Terry didn’t want to do that and instead returned to work for nearly 20 more years!
In July of 1997, Terry, UF’s treasurer and vice president for business affairs, was driving to a golf outing in Toledo with former UF President Kenneth Zirkle. He mentioned to Dr. Zirkle that he was going to retire from Findlay Industries, Inc., at the end of the year. Several months later, when Interim Vice President of Business Affairs Jim Smarkel, told Dr. Zirkle he did not want to remain in that position. Zirkle called Terry to see if he would be interested.
“After thought and prayer I told Dr. Zirkle that I would like to be included in the search for a new vice president,” Terry recalled. He didn’t win the golf outing, but he did win a job offer in the field of higher education.
Well-known in the Findlay community, Terry joked that he knew most of the people on his search committee. Along with his job at Findlay Industries, he was also active in Junior Achievement and the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance. The UF vice president position held an added attraction for Terry as a 1966 graduate of (then) Findlay College.
Although intending to stay at UF for just 4-5 years, he grew to love his job and the people he had the privilege of working with even though he came on board in tough times.
“The University was $250,000 in debt in 1998 when I arrived,” Terry remembered. “We now have a comfortable surplus and our net assets have grown from $59 million to approximately $134 million. Even our auditors are impressed with how financially healthy the university is compared to other colleges and universities they audit.
According to Terry, Zirkle and the trustees had the wisdom to start many of the programs that are drawing students today, such as Pre-vet, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, Environmental Safety and the Equestrian Programs.
“Dr. Freed and Dr. Fell, along with the trustees, have taken the University to greater heights to be now known as one of the best private universities in the United States,” Terry added.
He credits the turnaround in financial stability to several factors, but mostly because of a total team effort.
“The University has been blessed with exceptional leadership from the trustees and presidents. Faculty and staff are willing to do their part by working within their budget.”
Unfortunately part of his responsibility is to say “no” to requests from time to time.
“I always try to take the personalities out of it,” he said. “You can’t let relationships cloud your reasoning.”
Terry gives credit to the UF Board of Trustees, whom he says “really care,” and the three “very good” presidents for whom he has worked. The various cabinets have been amazing, but he believes the current cabinet is by far the most capable and pleasurable one to work with.
“We do really work as a team and look at what is best for the University,” he said.
Thanks to a conservative investment strategy, UF was able to weather the 2008 recession with little drain on its resources. The University’s investment consultants minimize risk, which helps during economic downturns.
“Unfortunately, during plentiful times, you don’t always see the upside in our investments,” he said.
Higher Ed in the Future
According to UF’s vice president for business affairs, there’s a benefit to being cautious when it comes to spending and investing. He sees smaller and poorly managed colleges “dropping by the wayside” in the next few years, and feels that even in good times, colleges need to “keep their belt tight.” He does admit, though, that all universities need to find ways to earn revenue from more than tuition payments alone, citing UF’s All Hazards Training Center as an example.
“They’ve had a record year for earnings,” he added.
Some decisions were difficult to make, but had positive outcomes, like purchasing Dr. Cosiano’s former office on Foulke Ave. The University moved the UF Health Clinic into that location, not only to treat students, but also to treat faculty, staff and their dependents. This decision not only enabled faculty and staff to get back to their offices sooner, but saved them the 20% they would normally have to pay for an office visit, and saved the University 80%.
“This could only be done with wonderful doctors like Drs. Blake, Miller, and Stump and nurses like Karen Yingling, Julie Yingling and their staff. They created a tremendous welcoming atmosphere for their patients that made this a great decision for everyone concerned,” Terry added.
Terry’s time as UF’s financial steward has been marked by a significant campus expansion. His division authorized the spending of $36.8 million to purchase 120 properties to allow the University to grow strategically. The largest ones were Owens Community College and Winebrenner Nursing Home from Blanchard Valley Hospital.
A successful community
Having provided financial guidance for the Findlay community in the past, Terry is pleased with what he hears and sees. He feels that the City of Findlay has a good government and has lots of possibilities. As a supporter of UF’s “America in Bloom” initiatives, he would like to see the City of Findlay follow the university’s example in using flowers and landscaping to attract visitors and make the downtown more visually pleasing.
“Flowers are a great way to make things look beautiful without spending a lot of money,” he mused. Terry is currently a board member of the Findlay Rotary Club, a member of the Findlay City Income Tax Board of Review and is past chairman of the Findlay Hancock Alliance
At the start of this academic year, Terry announced his “second” retirement, effective in February 2016. He and his wife, Chrystal, plan to spend more time with their family, which includes seven grandchildren and a great grandchild on the way. In addition, He does not want to sit around and will find something constructive to do to keep my mind and body as sharp as possible.
“I’ve been so privileged to work with the trustees, three wonderful presidents and other people at the University” he added. “My successor will have wonderful support.”
An Expanded “Footprint”
The University of Findlay has definitely grown and prospered since Marty Terry arrived. His division acquired property that would allow UF to expand physically, including:
- Purchased 19 acres from Foodtown and donation of an acre lot from Marathon for the Armstrong Sports Complex
- Purchased the 64,000 sq. ft. Davis Street Building and built a 42,000 sq. ft. addition
- Purchased Winebrenner Nursing Facility from the Blanchard Valley Health System; now The Village and Haven
- Purchased First Federal Bank branch for UF Bookstore
- Purchased house on N. Main Street for use as The Wolf Center for Alumni, Parents and Friends
- Purchased 80 acres adjacent to the western farm for the Beckett Animal Science Building
- Purchased former Stately Raven Bookstore for use as Admissions Building
Major construction and renovation projects have also occurred during Marty’s time at UF. They include:
- Construction of Beckett Animal Science Building
- Construction of Dehaven Apartments
- Construction of an addition to Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Building
- Renovation of the ice arena into the Recreation Center
- Major renovations to Carrothers Home
- Renovation and air conditioning system installed in Old Main