Forget summer break. Colgate has spent the days since graduation busily poring over its ledgers, tallying the thanks it owes alumni, parents, and friends for their support in Fiscal Year 2011. The official count, announced today, comes to 39 million — the dollar amount raised from all sources between June 2010 through May 2011.
“This is rocket science,” said Murray Decock ’80, vice president for institutional advancement and alumni affairs. “It’s also literature, fine arts, psychology, geology, athletics — every program that makes Colgate unique and fosters critical-thinking skills. Each gift makes a difference and, on behalf of all of our students, we want everyone to know how grateful we are.”
As if the first year of President Jeffrey Herbst’s new administration didn’t provide enough excitement, the university met its initial $400 million campaign goal in January and immediately expanded Passion for the Climb: The Campaign for Colgate with an additional $40 million target for financial aid alone.
That determined spirit fueled fundraising efforts throughout 2011. The Upstate Institute, which links talented students and faculty with central New York nonprofits, logged its full $5 million funding, thanks to two final gifts made on Colgate Day, August 13. The Shaw Wellness Institute was also fully endowed with a $2 million gift. A search is currently ongoing for a new wellness director.
Parents brought President Bill Clinton to campus in October through the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate, and their generosity opened the Trudy Fitness Center last January. The facility was officially dedicated in April as workers began the expansion and renovation of the former Wm. Brian Little Fitness Center as the new Mark P. Buttitta ’74 Varsity Weight Room. That project was completed June 6 and will be dedicated this fall.
In other instances of philanthropic leadership, the Presidents’ Club set a new membership record. Planned gifts totaled $4.1 million, and Colgate’s endowment value increased by more than $81 million, thanks to a 19 percent return and $17.9 million in gifts and bequests.
That kind of fiscal health has allowed the Class of 2015 to receive a greater percentage of financial aid awards compared with other classes. First-year students will be joined on campus by eight new faculty members; by the end of 2012, the university will have increased its teaching staff by 6.4 percent since 2010, bucking the nationwide trend toward downsizing.
Of the year’s total giving, $9.8 million arrived through the Colgate Annual Fund, while the Parents’ and Grandparents’ Fund accounted for another $3.7 million. These dollars will be used immediately to underwrite the university’s most pressing needs, including classroom resources and financial aid — a presidential priority.
In August 2010, President Herbst helped launch the Millennial Scholarship Program, encouraging graduates from the classes of 2000-2010 to provide $20,000 in support for a pair of annual fund scholarships to be awarded to members of the Class of 2015. Only six months later, Hamilton College challenged the millennials to find out which school could bring in the most gifts during the month of March.
In both instances, Colgate came out on top. Hamilton fell in a dramatic photo finish, 754-646, and President Herbst was able to announce that the Millennial Scholarship Program had met its goal during a night of Colgate-style trivia with university faculty members and recent grads in New York City on May 19.
Other classes were also drawn into competition. March Mania put the classes of 1960-1999 on the brackets to vie for the highest rate of participation. Laurels went to the Class of 1998. All of these initiatives, combined with 82-percent participation in the 2011 Senior Class Gift, culminated in almost half of Colgate’s alumni family making a gift last year.
“Thanks to our generous Colgate community, we’re already at $427 million in our $400 million campaign,” said President Herbst. “And we’re committed to going even further.”