Vassar College decisively surpassed the $400 million goal of its Vassar 150: World Changing fundraising campaign, with a grand total of $431,456,710 in gifts and pledges received from 31,698 individuals and organizations during the eight-year effort. Thanks to this success, a number of critical institutional priorities are being addressed. Among the highest is the creation, already underway, of an Integrated Science Center combining construction of a new 80,000-square-foot teaching and research building (due to be the largest on campus since the original Main Building in the 1860s) and renovation of three existing buildings. Moreover, the campaign results enable Vassar to sustain and augment a financial aid program that already is considered a leader nationwide.
Overall contributions to Vassar 150: World Changing more than doubled the funds raised for Vassar’s previous comprehensive campaign, which concluded in 1996. In the final fiscal year (2012-2013) of the just-completed campaign Vassar also realized two other significant fundraising milestones: the total $104 million received broke the college’s mark for one year of donations by nearly $35 million (accounting for more than 25% of the entire campaign’s donations); and combined unrestricted gifts from individuals to the college’s Annual Fund exceeded $10 million for the first time.
All told, gifts to the campaign ranged from one dollar to eight-figure amounts. These donations came from across a wide spectrum of Vassar alumnae and alumni representing classes of the 1930s through the 2010s, as well as from family members, friends, foundations and government agencies. Several of the largest gifts were made anonymously.
“As gratifying as it is to reach and exceed a numerical target, it is the meaning of those numbers that is so important,” said Vassar President Catharine Hill. “This incredible, broad-based outpouring of support makes possible the superb liberal arts education, encompassing the humanities, social and natural sciences and the arts, that our college has offered its students since the days of Matthew Vassar. It’s a great moment for Vassar to move forward into the future.”
Further highlights of the campaign include:
-- $82 million was raised for capital improvements. Most notably, $46 million was raised for the Integrated Science Center. Construction on the centerpiece of the project, a new 80,000-square-foot “bridge building” designed by Ennead Architects that will span a ravine, is due to be completed for the 2015-2016 academic year. The overall project, which also includes substantial renovations to three existing buildings (Sanders Physics, New England and Olmsted), is intended to facilitate interdisciplinary scientific study while bringing the quality of Vassar’s science facilities up to the same high standards as the college’s science curriculum and research.
-- $80.5 million was raised for scholarships and financial aid, including 77 new named scholarships. Notably, $73.8 million of these contributions was designated for the college’s endowment, which is significant because interest earned from the endowment provides a lasting source of funds for Vassar’s strictly need-based financial aid program. Moreover, the $73.8 million given to the endowment for financial aid constituted nearly half of all funds raised during the campaign for the endowment.
-- $44 million was raised for faculty and academic support, including more than $25 million given for endowed academic, technology, library and faculty funds, including the creation of 5 new endowed faculty chairs.
-- $36 million was raised for other important capital projects, such as renovations of Kenyon and Swift halls (the latter the renewed home of the History Department) and the Wimpfheimer Nursery School, as well as the outdoor athletic complex at Prentiss Field. Also, major landscaping projects have taken place, or are about to, at Blodgett and Skinner halls and the Outdoor Amphitheater where commencement exercises are held.
-- $77.7 million in overall unrestricted support was given to the college’s Annual Fund.
As William A. Plapinger ’74, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Barbara M. Vogelstein ’76, Campaign Chair, commented in announcing the results to Vassar’s constituency, “Our first priority is to say thank-you to every Vassar alumna, alumnus, parent and friend who played a role in this remarkable achievement. All of these figures are a wonderful tribute to every donor, no matter the size of her or his gift.”
“In keeping with the campaign’s name,” they added, “such extraordinary generosity has changed, and is changing, the world of our students and our faculty on a daily basis.”
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.