The Campaign for Willamette: Celebrating Success
Seven years ago, the Campaign for Willamette began with the acknowledgment that “if the cause is well-defined, compelling and passionate,” such an ambitious project would serve as a justified and welcome challenge.
Judging from the remarkable generosity of the Willamette community during the course of the campaign, this original case for support was well-grounded.
The Campaign for Willamette came to a close this year at more than $131 million raised, well beyond its original target of $125 million. The campaign’s fulfillment is all the more remarkable in light of recent challenges in the economy.
From the outset, the campaign was an ambitious and hopeful endeavor. It relied on the support of vast numbers of alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, these members of the Willamette community — who live all over the world and have followed all kinds of paths in life — came together when it counted.
Campaign dollars are already being used to advance scholarship funding, fuel new programs for academic excellence, renovate facilities and support university operations through the annual fund.
The most obvious results of the campaign stand as new markers on campus. Ford Hall, Kaneko Commons and the renovated Kresge Theatre were all influenced directly by campaign gifts and have reshaped the university’s footprint, placing it alongside national leaders in sustainable construction, mindful architectural design and co-curricular support.
Additionally, we know that great teaching and scholarship lie at the heart of the Willamette experience, and endowed chairs and professorships are two of the best resources we have for preserving these assets. A new series of endowed chairs now enriches Willamette’s curriculum, thanks to campaign donations, and the university recently met its faculty growth goal by creating 25 new tenure-track faculty positions during the last five years.
But the promise of these developments is realized only to the extent that it is accessible to students. Endowed scholarships fulfill the dreams of many students who energize our campus through their leadership, artistry and intellect, but cannot afford a private college education on their own. As we look ahead, and as Willamette continues to increase its academic profile, scholarship support remains the most crucial area of need. We have much to celebrate, but there is still work to be done.
Now is a time to thank and celebrate the 16,000 members of the Willamette community, near and far, who made the Campaign for Willamette a resounding success. The campaign is a reminder that the Willamette community can accomplish great things; steady support in the coming years will propel the university even farther ahead.
It’s a good time to be a Bearcat.