Campaign launch

Go Beyond: Campaign for Wheaton is now officially launched on its public phase. Wheaton celebrated the milestone in the seven-year initiative with a series of special events held durings Homecoming & Family Weekend Celebration (Oct. 15-17).

The campaign effort seeks to raise $120 million to support key initiatives that will help the college to enhance the liberal arts education it offers students. Festivities for the launch of Go Beyond included a special concert by the renowned a capella group, Rockapella, and a celebratory dinner for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends in Emerson Dining Hall.

Wheaton Board of Trustees vice chair Nancy Pearlstine Conger ’67 says that “educating citizens of the world is the best way to fight poverty, disease, environmental destruction and terrorism.” Conger, who agreed to serve as co-lead of the campaign steering committee, adds: “Go Beyond: Campaign for Wheaton addresses the need to educate global society. My support helps to make a difference.”

Thomas Hollister, who serves as chair of the board, said: “The profound and personal commitment of the faculty to teaching students is what is so special about Wheaton. It manifests itself in visible ways, such as the Rhodes, Watson and Truman scholarships that many students have won. But more importantly, something irreplaceable happens to many Wheaton students during their four years: their worlds are expanded and they become lifelong learners.”

The initiative is already making a difference. “The good news is that we are off to an excellent start,” President Ronald Crutcher announced at the 2010 Homecoming and Family Weekend celebration, which marked the public launch of the effort. “I had expected to announce that we have raised $80 million, but thanks to gifts the college has received in the last 24 hours, I am pleased to say that we have $81.7 million committed to Wheaton’s programs and facilities.”

The new Mars Center for Science and Technology represents the most concrete evidence of the impact that Go Beyond: Campaign for Wheaton is already having on the college. The $42 million building project, the largest in the institution’s history, will be built with $30 million in gifts as well as a $5 million endowment to fund the building’s operations.

Supporters of the college have also contributed more than $17 million through the Wheaton Fund, to sustain the college’s ongoing programs, from subscription fees for the library’s digital resources to supplies for studio art and science classes.Gifts to the Wheaton Fund support student scholarships, which are also a key priority for support in the campaign.

Wheaton Trustee Debra Kent Glidden ’68 established the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Murphy Endowed Scholarship during the college’s last campaign, which ended in 2000. She says the college’s emphasis on expanding scholarship support through Go Beyond is critical. “Especially in this recession, endowed scholarships are critical to helping students and their families afford the first-rate liberal arts education that Wheaton offers.”

Indeed, early donors to the campaign have created 100 new scholarships to preserve access to a Wheaton education, representing nearly $18 million in gifts and commitments. During the next four years, the college seeks to raise $45 million for student financial aid.

Gifts to the college have also established endowed funds that helped to create, and now sustain, several critical programs. New funds have established courses in film, created a fund for science center maintenance, launched a new women’s leadership initiative, and developed programs in service, spirituality and social responsibility.

Wheaton will be sponsoring City Seminars to celebrate the campaign launch in New York; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; and Portland, Maine, during the coming months.