Connecticut College Magazine · Fall 2011


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2010-2011: Support that builds a foundation for a new century

2010-2011: Support that builds a foundation for a new century
Professor of Economics Maria Cruz-Saco leads a class discussion in a renovated classroom. Photo by Bob Handelman.

by Barbara Nagy

A record-breaking Annual Fund, major gifts to support the new Science Center, scholarships and residential education, and a sharp rise in commitments for planned gifts combined to make 2010-11 one of the strongest fundraising years in College history.

“It's tremendous to see alumni, parents and friends coming together to show their pride and support during our Centennial year,” said President Leo I. Higdon, Jr. “Their commitment is the foundation on which we are building our second century, and we are very grateful for it.

“We're proud of our legacy of extraordinary liberal arts education. But we're very much looking toward our future and this support is invaluable.”

It was a defining year. The College broke ground for the new $20 million-plus Science Center at New London Hall, thanks to leadership support through the Campaign for Connecticut College. Other gifts are creating a student café, Ruane's Den, in Harkness House, funding scholarships and internships, strengthening athletics, and supporting admission outreach.

In honor of the Centennial, Annual Fund supporters were invited through the year to give their reasons for making a gift. The response was overwhelming.

“I learned so much there,” said Scott R. Williamson '81, who's made a gift every year since graduation. “I learned a lot about people and about myself.”

Carol J. Ramsey '74 wants to give young people the opportunity to explore their full potential, and Bill Luce '81 P'14 values the uncompromising professors, the small classes, and the “wonderful, welcoming, learning environment.”

Highlights of the year:

The Annual Fund

Annual giving reached $5.3 million, an all-time record. Parents gave $750,000. Alumni participation was 44 percent, slightly surpassing last year's at a time when many colleges are seeing declines.

Many supporters gave at Centennial tribute levels — such as $100 for 100 years or $1,911 to honor the College's founding year. The enthusiasm extended to the Centennial Class. Ninety-eight percent of seniors gave — an all-time record for a graduating class.

Collectively, this year's reunion classes raised a record $8 million since their last reunion, in 2006. The classes of 1946 and 1951 set records for Annual Fund gifts from the 65th and 60th Reunion classes, and 2006 set a record for gifts raised from a 5th Reunion class.

The Class of 1951 won the C.B. Rice '31 Award for the reunion class with the highest percent participation. The 50th Reunion Class, the Class of 1961, took the Ann Crocker Wheeler '34 Award for the greatest increase in the number of Annual Fund donors.

Planned Giving

Commitments exceeded $7 million — more than three times the total a year earlier. The number of gifts doubled from 2009-10. The number of charitable gift annuities established during the year also doubled, as did the number of bequest provisions.

“More alumni are realizing the benefits of planned gifts. They can be a great way to meet your financial needs while also supporting the College,” said Ken Dolbashian, senior planned giving officer.

The Campaign for Connecticut College

New gifts and commitments for 2010-11 totaled $21 million, the highest level since the start of the recession in 2008. As of year-end, the Campaign stands at $163 million with two years remaining.

“Our supporters are helping to provide today's students with an extraordinary education — an education that will change their lives,” said Gregory T. Waldron, vice president for College Advancement. “The last two years of the Campaign will be challenging. But the commitment I see among the alumni, parents and others in our community makes me very optimistic that we can reach our goal.”

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