Hal Rodriguez ’78
I am pleased to report that the financial condition of St. Elmo Hall as of April 30, 2013 is excellent. Our financial condition is comprised of our current operating condition, where we have a cash balance of $65,000, and our capital fund, which has a balance of $1,615,000. We have mortgage debt of $160,000, making our net capital balance $1.45 million.
We strive to operate the house on a breakeven basis. We generate revenue from room rents, meal fees and parlor fees, which are used to support the house operations, including meals, insurance, general maintenance, janitorial expenses, utilities, a portion of our debt service costs and property taxes. For fiscal year end June 30, 2013 we earned total revenues of $245,000 and expect to incur operating expenses of $235,000. The undergraduate brothers, who manage both the house operations and meal service, did an outstanding job of staying within their budget during the current fiscal year. In prior years we have operated with a slight deficit so this year’s surplus will be applied against the prior year deficit.
We had 62 active members during the spring of 2013, including 9 pledges. In May 2013, 18 brothers will graduate and for the fall of 2013 we will have 44 returning brothers. We adjust our fees, principally the parlor fee, depending on membership numbers in an effort to cover our ongoing expenses. Due to a net loss of 9 brothers as we enter fiscal 2014 we will need to slightly increase the parlor fee dues to fund our operating costs. The active membership will be rebated the amount of increase if they generate a surplus for the fall semester. Our meal expense is budgeted on a per person basis and is adjusted to the number of brothers in the house, each of whom is required to participate in the meal plan. We are hopeful that the 2014 pledge class will be large enough to offset the loss of 20 brothers who will graduate in May 2014 so we can avoid further increases to our dues.
The Capital Fund is invested through the UVA Fund in UVIMCO. As of March 31, 2013, UVIMCO had a one year return of 12.4%, a 3 year annual return of 12.6%, a 5 year annual return of 6.1%, and a 10 year annual return of 10.7%, which I believe are all in the top quartile for endowments.
Over the past few years we have used distributions from our capital fund both to finance capital improvement and summer maintenance projects and to repay mortgage debt. Recent major capital improvement projects include structural improvements made to two columns, which had been damaged by water leakage, and ongoing maintenance includes floor resurfacing, repainting, fire safety additions, minor structural improvements, and furniture replacement. We have also enhanced the house AV and Wi-Fi systems. We intend to use future withdrawals to fund additional structural renovations to the two other columns, upgrades of our bathrooms and, to the extent possible, modernization of the kitchen.
As part of our stewardship of the house finances we elected to use a portion of our investment gains to reduce indebtedness incurred to fund the 2006-2007 renovations. Over the past few years we have reduced the construction loan, which bears interest at 150 bpts over 30 day LIBOR, or 1.7% currently, by $290,000 from $450,000 to $160,000. We also repaid $68,000, which remained outstanding on borrowing used to fund the 1985 renovations and bore interest at 7%. In aggregate, we have repaid nearly $360,000 of indebtedness in an effort to better position the house to withstand market volatility.
As a brotherhood we have been the most benevolent fraternity in our support for the University. That support comes from contributions made both through St. Elmo and directly from our alumni members. For those contributions made through St. Elmo we have supported the following:
St. Elmo Jefferson Scholars Fund – The Jefferson Scholars is a merit based program that awards scholarships to prospective students of the University of Virginia. The students are selected based purely on leadership, scholarship and citizenship. As of April 30, 2013, the Jefferson Scholars Scholarship Award had a value of $950,000. This investment is managed by UVIMCO.
St. Elmo Jefferson Trust – The Jefferson Trust provides discretionary funding for trustee-selected projects that enhance the University as a preeminent global institution of higher learning. Phil Nesmith currently serves as our trustee representative. As of April 30, 2013, St. Elmo has contributed $150,000 to the Jefferson Trust.
William V. Daniel Education Fund – This fund was established to support the St. Elmo undergraduates who best exemplify the ideals of scholarship and service to the University. We continue to consider ways to increase the principal of this fund. At April 30, 2013, the balance was $22,100.
We will continue to work with the undergraduate leadership of the house to promote strong membership to support our operating needs. We are appreciative of the ongoing support from our alumni, who have enabled us to create a strong financial foundation for St. Elmo Hall. With that support our outlook for the future is extremely positive.