|Centrepiece Online | Spring 2008|
A More Perfect Centre
Centre concludes most successful capital campaign in College history
by Richard Trollinger, Vice President for College Relations
The Campaign for A More Perfect Centre, a five-year comprehensive drive to raise funds in support of capital projects, endowment growth, and ongoing support (annual giving), ended on schedule and well over its goal on Dec. 31, 2007. Against the goal of $120 million, the campaign generated gifts and pledges totaling $169,374,192.
A campaign is many things, but most importantly, it is a statement of institutional aspiration. This is especially true of Centre campaigns, which always follow a strategic planning process that has outlined an agenda for the College’s future. In this sense, the campaign is less about raising money than it is about implementing the strategic plan. In order to be successful, both the planning process and the campaign require a sustained focus on vision and values.
So, what vision and values have driven the Campaign for A More Perfect Centre? Part of the answer to this question can be found in the name itself. In much the same way that the U.S. Constitution sought to create a more perfect union, the Campaign for A More Perfect Centre has sought to gather the financial resources necessary to make an already good college even better—or more perfect.
Has that happened? And, if so, what does a more perfect Centre look like? It is an imperfect picture, of course, since some aspects of a better, stronger Centre are less visible; but, of those, some can be represented numerically. A more perfect Centre has an endowment that has increased in value by more than $100 million since the campaign began. (Centre’s endowment is expected to exceed $225 million this year.) It has $36.5 million in new endowment for student scholarships to help ensure Centre’s ability to remain a place that provides access to opportunity for bright and aspiring students, regardless of financial background, even as the College becomes more elite in the quality of its programs. It also has $12.5 million in new endowment for professorships and faculty support to enable Centre to continue attracting teacher/scholars of the first rank to its faculty.
Some of it is visible. A more perfect Centre has $750,000 in new equipment for its science laboratories and a $1.25-million restricted endowment for the ongoing maintenance and replacement of laboratory equipment. It has a state-of-the-art academic and athletic/recreation complex as a result of The College Centre project, which gave a dramatic new look to the renovated and expanded Crounse and Sutcliffe halls. By next fall, it will have a new 146-bed student residence in Pearl Hall. And within 30 months, a more perfect Centre will have a new science building adjoining Young Hall, a new campus center replacing Cowan Dining Commons, and a refurbished Norton Center for the Arts. In the future, campus facilities—the living and learning environment—will be supported by a permanent fund, the Capital Improvements Fund, of more than $40 million.
The last three projects mentioned are being made possible by the Trustee Challenge, which was launched last spring after a small group of trustees committed $22.5 million of the $27.5 million needed to finance these improvements. While the Trustee Challenge was launched in the final year of the Campaign for A More Perfect Centre, it addresses the top three facilities priorities of the College’s new strategic plan, which was formally adopted by the Board of Trustees on Jan. 26, 2008. This initiative illustrates the vision and generosity of Centre’s trustees, as well as the new sense of possibility generated by the success of the Campaign for A More Perfect Centre.
Because of the generosity of its alumni and friends, a more perfect Centre continues to attain new milestones in its quest for excellence. Last June Centre was recognized by Consumers Digest as the No. 1 value among the nation’s liberal arts colleges.
The Campaign for A More Perfect Centre was headed by a superb leadership team, including honorary co-chairs Jim Evans ’43 and Pierce Lively ’43, campaign chair Randy Kell ’69, and vice chairs Jim Ratcliffe ’53, Nelson Rodes ’54, and Jim Rouse ’62. Their efforts were augmented by Bob Brockman ’63, campaign steering committee chair, and David Grissom ’60, board of trustees chair. These leaders were joined by thousands of alumni and friends, as well as many corporations and foundations, in providing a record-setting level of gifts and grants in order to make an already good Centre College more perfect.
Richard Trollinger has led two successful capital campaigns since joining the Centre staff in 1994 as vice president for college relations.