College Advancement

By the Numbers

  • $9.7 million in gifts to the college
  • 51,000 square feet of new donor-supported state-of-the-art athletics and student-life facilities
  • 62 alumni family members celebrated multigeneration ties by presenting diplomas to legacy graduates during Commencement 2014
  • $208.9 million given to Dickinson through the First in America campaign (July 2004 - July 2014).

President’s Vision

Nancy A. Roseman 

Our graduates are the most powerful proof of the value of a Dickinson education. We need to increase engagement among alumni, as well as the college’s extended community of parents and friends, while encouraging Dickinsonians to freely share their pride in their alma mater. We are refocusing our efforts to foster and support regional Dickinson communities around the globe, while offering alumni and parents opportunities to engage in experiences that—like the Dickinson experience itself—merge social interaction with intellectual enrichment. We will bring faculty to you, through regional events throughout the country. While we are pleased to have successfully concluded the First in America campaign, we know that Dickinson will need greater financial resources in the years ahead. 


Marsha Ray

The Division of College Advancement’s primary focus this year has been enhancing our connections with the Dickinson community. In addition to managing ongoing fundraising efforts as well as alumni and parent programs, advancement staff sought to better understand exactly how our alumni and parents would most like to engage with the college so that we can provide opportunities to deepen their relationships with Dickinson.

The first step in this effort was a comprehensive engagement survey, which was sent to all of the 23,000 alumni for whom we have contact information. We received 2,661 completed surveys. The responses indicated that while pride in the college is high, alumni’s sense of connection to the college does not match that level of pride. The survey also revealed that there is a desire among alumni to interact with the college through avenues that marry social and intellectual pursuits in the same way Dickinson’s distinctive residential liberal-arts experience did for them as undergraduates.

To meet this desire for engagement where it is, we have reorganized our staff to focus on regional engagement, affinity groups and opportunities to combine intellectual and social experiences. To this end, we launched the new One College One Community initiative, which brings together alumni, parents, faculty and students to consider a common theme and connect through a series of events on campus and around the world. This fall, One College One Community kicked off with events fostering community discussions about climate change, art and perseverance as epitomized by James Balog, the recipient of the 2014 Samuel G. Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism.

It is important that all alumni recognize that their gifts to the college, no matter the size, make an impact on Dickinson's success now and in the future.

Marsha Ray

Highlights of the fall program included a series of events in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago attended by several hundred Dickinsonians as well as a live-stream of Balog’s multimedia presentation on campus, which generated more than 40 questions and comments from the extended Dickinson community via e-mail and social media. Plans are underway for the spring 2015 One College One Community theme, which will focus on the documentary Happy and purposefully connect alumni and parents with our first-year students, who all watched the film as part of Orientation. We’re also planning a number of live-streaming and regional events that continue to offer opportunities to interact with faculty, students and campus speakers throughout the year.

In addition to bringing more than 1,800 parents and alumni to campus through Alumni Weekend and Homecoming & Family Weekend, we launched a new annual spring campus event to help turn Dickinson pride into engagement. Red & White Day, held April 12, celebrated Dickinson athletics with the dedication of the new Durden Athletic Training Center, a carnival-style picnic, numerous Red Devil home games and alumni athletic contests. (The second Red & White Day is scheduled for April 25, 2015.) We also celebrated the opening of the Kline Center expansion during Homecoming & Family Weekend, offering alumni and parents tours of the new fitness center and squash courts.

The completion of these facilities enhancements also marked the successful conclusion of the First in America comprehensive campaign, which raised $208.9 million for 75 new endowed scholarships, 16 new endowed faculty chairs and numerous campus improvements. In addition to the Durden Center and the Kline expansion, the campaign funded renovations to Biddle Field, the new Rector Science Complex, the Dr. Inge P. Stafford Greenhouse for Teaching and Research and the Phyllis Joan Miller Memorial Field.

Of course, fundraising remains a priority. In 2013-14 the college received gifts from nearly 9,000 alumni totaling $9.7 million. However, for the third consecutive year, the percentage of alumni who made a gift to the Dickinson Fund dropped, bringing the participation rate down to 27 percent. While this decline in giving is part of a national trend faced by many of our peer institutions, we must do better if we are to continue to provide the quality experience and education synonymous with our name. Reversing this decline will require alumni to play a more active role in advancing the college. Accordingly, we are expanding our alumni volunteer program through which Dickinsonians can inspire their classmates to actively support their alma mater. 

The 73 percent of our alumni who did not make a gift last year represent enormous untapped potential for this community. By inspiring them to reconnect with and recommit to Dickinson, we are hopeful that we can move the college to even greater heights. This year, our goal is to raise $11 million and to inspire 29 percent of our alumni to make a gift to the college. It is important that all alumni recognize that their gifts to the college, no matter the size, make an impact on Dickinson’s success now and in the future.

As we enhance alumni engagement and deepen the connection between the college campus and the wider college community, we are confident that Dickinson will reverse the recent downward trend in giving. By making Dickinson more of a priority in the lives of all Dickinsonians, our efforts this year will help make this powerful community more inspired about, and more confident in, investing in the college’s future.