Gettysburg Great Campaign Comes to a Close. College Raises $160 Million.
By Gauri Mangala, News Editor
2018 Homecoming Weekend marked the end of the seven year Gettysburg Great Campaign, headed by President Janet Morgan Riggs ‘77 and Robert Kallin, Vice President of Development, Alumni and Parent Relations. The campaign was “the largest and most ambitious fundraising effort in the College’s 186-year history,” according the College’s website. The campaign’s initial goal was $125 million and was extended to a goal of $150 million for the institution; that figure was surpassed with the support of 25,132 donations for a grand total of $160,010,863.
“I’m so grateful to our staff in Development, Alumni, and Parent Relations for their tireless efforts in support of this campaign, and I’m moved by the generosity of the Gettysburg community,” remarked Riggs. “This campaign was primarily focused on enhancing the educational opportunities available to our students. Raising funds in support of student scholarships was the most important priority, and the Gettysburg community—alumni, parents, employees, and friends—stepped up in a big way, contributing nearly $50 million dollars to support endowed scholarships and Gettysburg Fund scholarships. In addition, the funds we raised in support of academic and cocurricular opportunities have truly enriched the student experience—funds to support student research, travel, career development, public service, and so on. I am just so proud of what the Gettysburg College community has accomplished together in support of our students.”
However, even with all of the successes that went towards 100 Gettysburg Fund Named Scholarships, 132 endowed scholarships, 315 new undergraduate research opportunities, seven endowed professorships and state-of-the-art classroom equipment cross-departmentally, there were still many shortcomings. This campaign did not close the gap between Gettysburg College’s endowment and that of peer institutions.
In 2016, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) found that “Gettysburg’s endowment per student was roughly $107,000 in 2016,” according to ‘Our endowment and why it matters,’ a press release on the College’s website. “That means Gettysburg has $80,000 less in resources to support each student than our closest competitor cohort, which includes Franklin & Marshall and Dickinson, and nearly $215,000 less than wealthier institutions we compete against for students, like Bucknell and Hamilton.”
James L. Chemel ‘71, the Board of Trustees chair, was later quoted in the article, “Our lower endowment balance affects some of our national rankings, which can influence parental and student college choices. This endowment disparity also affects all of our students each and every year, because income from the endowment provides funds for student scholarships, support for our faculty, and overall budget relief, which supports all our students.”
Kallin said that while this campaign was a significant boost for the endowment, other institutions are aggressively fundraising for their own endowments such that Gettysburg is unlikely to catch up in the short term.
Listen to Kallin’s full interview in the October 1 episode of “On Target”
Kallin sat down with The Gettysburgian’s editor-in-chief Benjamin Pontz to discuss the end of the campaign on the paper’s podcast “On Target.” Kallin cited the campaign’s strong focus on endowment when discussing the success of the campaign, “Even when we are not in a campaign, we are aggressively raising money for the endowment. Time is critical in any kind of endowment conversation… We often work with donors to realize their endowment impact sooner rather than later.”
On Saturday, Sept. 22 of Homecoming Weekend, donors and members of the college community celebrated the end to a successful campaign with fireworks and music in a glass tent on Memorial Field. Kallin said that expenses for the campaign celebration did not cut into the proceeds of the campaign because there was a separate fund established to support those activities. Overall, he said the college spent 35 cents per dollar raised during the campaign, a ratio with which he is satisfied.
“It’s certainly a decent rate of return,” Kallin said. “It’s a respectable ratio.”
700 employees and retirees gave $4.4 million to the campaign. 65% of donations came from alumni, 20% from private foundations, and a sizeable amount came from parents and friends of the college. Kallin hopes that these minority donating groups will grow in future campaigns.
“I’m very proud of what we achieved as a goal,” Kallin stated. “But, I’m very proud of what we’ve set up in terms of the structure and the ethos of how we do and what we do.”