Collective energy propels new phase
by Carolyn Yeager, Interim Vice President for College Advancement
October 3, 2011
Carolyn Yeager, interim vice president for college advancement
As President William G. Durden ’71 suggests in his adjacent column, Dickinson enters the second decade of the 21st century with an upward trajectory unimagined just a decade ago.
The quantitative measures include a record-breaking number of applicants for admissions (6,100, up from 5,033 last year), a 16-percent gain in the endowment over last year (securing Dickinson’s perch within the top 10 percent of return among colleges and universities) and the success of the $150-million First in America: Fulfilling Our Destiny capital campaign.
Recently, the college’s most important sign of change was neatly summarized by Trustee Emerita Judge Rosalyn Robinson ’68: “We have always been proud … Dickinson is a great school, but today we have more confidence than ever and a bit of swagger—not an exaggerated confidence, but a genuine sense of collective purpose and excitement about the future.” I suggest that this rising pride comes from accomplishments achieved together and an understanding of what we can and will further achieve.
The impact of fundraising might be the most noticeable sign of forward movement, but the sea change at Dickinson is about far more than dollars.
A new way of “being” stands out as the most profound progression. The momentum and energy President Durden describes come from the collective ways in which Dickinsonians, alumni and parents alike, are not just raising money—a very important task indeed—but are volunteering to support recruitment efforts to attract future scholars; offer career advice, internships and jobs; and make calls to classmates to encourage them to attend reunions.
Through these actions, Dickinsonians deliver a message about our college, its strength and value. And by giving back financially, we give the college the resources to excel. Our ability to advance our mission and build a vibrant and relevant future is dependent upon our collective commitment to giving our time, talent and treasure (hopefully all three). By so doing, we will continue fueling Dickinson’s ascent.
The Board of Trustees believes in you and knows that our college is primed to be a national model for a 21st-century liberal-arts education. Due to this confidence—and guided by the recently completed strategic plan—the board voted in May to increase the campaign goal from $150 million to $300 million and to extend First in America for six more years. The trustees approved this new phase, setting a personal goal to match or surpass the $57 million they gave for the first phase. Our leadership knows what it will take to reach the next level and is counting on you to make a similar commitment in the coming years.
The goals for this next period of First in America include elevating the student-life experience, increasing student access to a Dickinson education, supporting pedagogy and funding overall excellence by growing the Annual Fund. The next $150 million is aligned to support the following initiatives:
- providing access for students from all socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds
- developing a 21st-century skill set in the classroom and in the curriculum
- upgrading facilities for athletics, residential life and the sciences
- enhancing institutional excellence through the Annual Fund
- increasing estate gifts.
Few colleges have the confidence, capacity and spirit to move from one major campaign to the next. Dickinson has arrived at an unprecedented time in its history—when the Board of Trustees, president and the senior-management team believe the opportunity to permanently elevate our college is before us. Our founder, Benjamin Rush, would expect nothing less, and I hope you agree to be part of this next journey with your college.