by Matt Getty; video by Joe O'Neill
As the first major initiative in Dickinson Forward, interim President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11, recently unveiled a fundraising campaign to ensure that every Dickinson student who needs a scholarship gets a scholarship. The Campaign for Scholarships: Change a Life—Change the World, the most ambitious financial-aid fundraising effort in the college’s history, aims to raise $75 million to fund the college’s commitment to providing sufficient aid to meet the full demonstrated need of every admitted student.
“Our goal is to make sure financial constraints never prevent potential Dickinsonians from experiencing this life-changing education,” says Jones. “To continue to prepare future global leaders from all walks of life, regardless of their families’ financial situation, we must do everything we can to keep this priceless education affordable.”
In addition to inviting alumni, parents and friends of the college to make an impact in individual students’ lives, the campaign offers the opportunity to make a difference in the wider world by supporting students who go on to shape a brighter future beyond Dickinson. Since Dickinson graduates become tomorrow’s business and nonprofit leaders, doctors, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, lawyers and teachers, making a difference through their lives and work each day ensures that every gift to the campaign also gives through the campaign to impact myriad worthy causes.
“By investing in this effort, you will change a student’s life,” says Jones. “But you’ll also change the world, because four years after that student walks in through the doors of Old West, they walk out into the world, and Dickinson graduates don’t keep the benefits of this education to themselves.”
Though the campaign will be Dickinson’s largest-ever scholarship fundraising effort and take the work of thousands of Dickinsonians coming together to reach its historic goal, lead donors have already gotten the college off to a fast start with $35 million in gifts. Sam Rose ’58 kicked off the historic effort by adding $12.75 million to the Samuel G. Rose ’58 Scholarship, which has already made Dickinson possible for hundreds of students over the last two decades. His new gift will double the value of that scholarship fund, making Dickinson possible for hundreds more students over the next decade alone.
“Thank you, Sam, for this life-changing and world-changing gift,” says Jones, who notes that Sam provides a great example of how Dickinsonians can collaborate with the college to find innovative solutions to contemporary challenges.
“Sam has long been passionate about increasing social mobility and equity in this country,” Jones explains. “Having lived and taught in the Baltimore and D.C. area, he was troubled by the lack of access and opportunity for students of color and low-income students. His own life was transformed by his Dickinson experience, and he wanted this same opportunity for all students regardless of race or class. So he chose to give through Dickinson, creating a scholarship that he hoped would help level the playing field. And that’s exactly what Sam’s scholarship did.”
Since the Rose Scholarship was first established, the percentage of students of color at Dickinson has increased by more than 400%. During that same time, the college’s percentage of first-generation students has more than doubled.
In addition to Rose, other lead donors include George and Jennifer Ward Reynolds ’77, who recently created an endowed scholarship fund for high-achieving students from Maryland, Jennifer’s home state. The Reynolds Leadership Scholar Program, which awards recipients $160,000 toward tuition for four years of full-time study at the college, represents a new cohort scholarship model, which the college aims to replicate in other areas throughout the course of the campaign. New scholarship models and ideas like this will be a key part of the campaign.
“This is a challenge that calls for innovative, collaborative, cross-disciplinary thinking,” says Jones. “Thankfully, that’s the kind of thinking Dickinsonians do best.” Accordingly, members of the global Dickinson community are invited to submit their ideas for new methods of scholarship and financial-aid support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting Dickinson.edu/change.
“Maybe you want to launch a scholarship for students from your home state, like Jennifer and George,” says Jones. “Maybe you have a different idea—something we haven’t even thought of yet. We want to hear from you. Just as we did with the Revolutionary Challenge, we’re looking to collaborate and innovate with you as we reach this goal together.”
One new idea already in discussion among college leaders, alumni, faculty and staff is a series of “student success” initiatives that complement scholarship support with support for the aspects of the Dickinson experience that make the college the life-changing place that it is. Conversations on new models of funding for internships, study abroad, student-faculty research, student wellness initiatives, advising and career preparation are already happening, and over the coming months Dickinson may be unveiling these as new Dickinson Forward initiatives.
“Providing financial aid and scholarships is only the first step,” says Jones. “There are also all of the steps that prepare students to walk down the steps of Old West four years later.”
In addition to ideas, of course, the success of this campaign will depend on broad support from the entire global Dickinson community. Gifts like Rose’s and the Reynolds’ aren’t the only ones with the power to “change a life— change the world.” Each year, the Dickinson Fund harnesses the collective power of gifts from thousands of donors to provide millions of dollars of support for scholarships and financial aid. Throughout this campaign, those gifts will be vital.
Whether a donor makes a gift of $50, $500 or $5,000, Dickinson Fund gifts supporting scholarships will combine with endowed gifts to help Dickinson deliver on its promise to provide a scholarship for every student who needs one.
“This is an exciting time for Dickinson, and I invite you all to join in,” says Jones. “Every gift of every size has a role to play. Let’s change lives, and change the world, together."
To make a Dickinson Fund gift to the campaign, donors can use Dickinson's online gift form and choose “Scholarships” as the designation. To establish endowed fund supporting scholarships, please call 800-543-3809 or email email@example.com. Learn more about all the ways you can support the campaign.
Published November 1, 2021