Campaign Exceeds Goal
August 12, 2010

 

Shields Science Center at Stonehill CollegeAttaining the Summit, Stonehill's second major fundraising campaign, set out in July, 2004, to raise $55 million. It concluded with a bang in June 2010, raising a record-setting $59.5 million, more than doubling the $23.1 million raised in Stonehill's last campaign, Securing the Vision (1992-1997).

Exceeding the original ambitious goal is particularly notable in light of the 2008 economic downturn. "Alumni, parents and friends really came together to make this effort a success," says Vice President for Advancement Francis X. Dillon '70.

But more than the dollars-and-cents success of this campaign, the bigger question is: what difference has it made on campus? The answer: substantial. Raising money for five priorities: student scholarships, science facilities, academic initiatives, athletic enhancements and the annual fund, Attaining the Summit literally transformed campus in just five years. Stonehill students and faculty today are benefiting from new academic and athletic facilities, the addition of millions of dollars to scholarship funds - including $7 million from Thomas and Mary Shields P'84 & '92, the largest gift in the history of the College - and the establishment of the College's first three endowed professorships.

Other highlights of the campaign's lasting legacy include:

Student Scholarships
Alumni, parents and friends contributed $23 million, exceeding the original $20 million goal. And those funds have created new scholarships or enhanced already existing ones.

"The beauty of endowed funds is that they create perpetual scholarships," explains Dillon. "The gift is invested, with just a percentage of the earning spent each year, so it's truly a gift that keeps giving." That type of ongoing support is crucial to Stonehill students - 85 percent of whom receive some type of financial aid from the College.

"These additional funds mean we can help many more students than we could before," notes Assistant Vice President and Director of Student Financial Services Eileen O'Leary '91. "That's particularly meaningful in this economic climate, where many parents have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced. They're able to help less, so students are forced to borrow more. We can now better bridge the gap, meaning our students can borrow less and reduce their debt burden." And that's significant, O'Leary points out, considering that in the past 10 years, students' average debt at graduation has nearly doubled from $15,800 in 2000 to $30,000 in 2010.

In successfully realizing this priority, alumni and friends helped to ensure scholarships keep pace. "When I started at Stonehill 20 years ago, we had about $200,000 to distribute annually in endowed scholarship funds," she says. "Today, we have more than $1 million."

And as the endowed funds are invested, that number promises to increase. "Through the campaign, we established 51 new scholarships and enhanced 69 others," reports Dillon. "In fact, the largest gift to the campaign - $7 million from Thomas and Mary Shields - went to scholarships. I think alumni rallied around scholarships because so many of them realized they benefited from the generosity of others when they were here," he concludes. "And now, they want to be there for today's students."

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