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On March 16, 2008, Claremont McKenna College will announce an unprecedented fundraising campaign, setting a record goal of $600 million – the largest campaign ever undertaken by a liberal arts college. “The Campaign for Claremont McKenna” will include the $200 million gift made by Robert A. Day, which was announced in September, and a $75 million gift pledged by Henry Kravis, who will have the West Campus Center named in his honor.
The goal tops previous records made by Williams College, Wellesley College, and Middlebury College. Williams announced a five-year, $400 million campaign in 2003, reaching its goal in 2007 seventeen months early. Wellesley closed their campaign in 2005 18.2% above their goal, have raised $472 million. And in 2007, Middlebury announced its own five-year plan to raise $500 million.
Claremont McKenna started accumulating for the campaign in January 2006 and has raised $425 million so far – roughly 70% of its stated goal. The current pace of the campaign raises hopes in the administration that the goal may be raised before the campaign ends in December 2012.
Roughly half of the $600 million will go into the endowment. Still, a projected endowment total by the end of the campaign is impossible to project due to current and future market growth.
“The priority is to make CMC the best possible college it can be,” says William Lowery, Vice President for Development and External Relations. “Eventually, we will have that billion dollar endowment, but that’s not the goal.”
Roughly $100 million of the campaign will be devoted to new facilities – the Kravis Center, Ducey Gym renovation, the Biszantz Family Tennis Center, and the purchase of land east of Claremont Boulevard.
Students will also notice a major increase in faculty. In addition to professorships in finance and economics for the Day School, the Roberts Challenge will devote a total of $60 million to the Roberts Faculty Leadership Initiative and the chairs it produces, thanks to the generosity of George R. Roberts.
“President Gann's ambitious strategic plans prove to CMC alumni that their college is on the move,” says John Faranda, Vice President for Alumni Relations. “That kind of progress will motivate alumni to support their alma mater and this campaign in a way that ‘business as usual’ will not.”
Capital campaigns, as they are often called, have three major stages. The opening concentrates on major gifts – such as the gifts from Day, Kravis and Roberts – and involves consultations to set a final goal. Often dubbed the “quiet phase,” one-third to one-half of a campaign goal is usually met at this stage. The middle stage is when the campaign goes public through announcement parties, the first of which CMC will be holding on March 16 in Los Angeles, followed by similar parties in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and San Diego in the days following. This is also the stage when a campaign begins to reach out to donors of middle and lower giving levels. Finally, the closing phase features dedication ceremonies and recognition of donors to the project.
Students Ben Hough ’08 and Emily Meinhardt ’10 will be accompanying Professor John J. Pitney Jr., Professor Marc Massoud, President Gann, Robert Day, and other members of the administration to the announcement parties across the country throughout the week.
“The campaign will build up the college’s resources, enabling it to do more things for more students,” says Pitney. “I look forward to the trip.”