…nearing final goal
Campaign Gustavus, the name of the College’s comprehensive fundraising effort, has recently hit its $100 million milestone towards its eventual goal of $150 million, thanks to the generosity and vision of many alumni and friends of the College.
Thomas Young, Vice President for Instituional Advancement and alumnus of ’88, has strong ties to Gustavus that go back almost one hundred years.
“Everything about Gustavus for me is personal. My grandmother went here in 1916, my father is a member of the class of ’50 . . . my mother is on the board [of trustees], I know her name is on the brass plaque when you walk into Lund Center, we say hello when we walk in each time, my kids and I,” Young said.
For over two decades, Young has held positions involving fundraising and volunteer engagement.
“My entire professional career, starting on the 6th of February 1989, has been campaigns of some sort, volunteer organization and capital campaigns,” Young said.
Young’s current project is Campaign Gustavus, a fundraising campaign charged with the daunting task of reaching $150 million by the fall of 2015. Three pillars support the bold campaign: Opportunity, Teaching & Learning and Community. Ultimately, the money ends up going towards these three objectives.
Opportunity helps bridge the gap between affordability and the cost of attending Gustavus, as well as attracting and retaining high-caliber students from diverse backgrounds. “Under [Opportunity] think student scholarships, the opportunity to come to Gustavus,” Young said.
Going to college is a huge financial investment that many cannot afford. According to U.S. News, 69.5 percent of full-time students receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $23,250 for Gustavus. These scholarships and awards are mostly accrued through fundraising efforts such as Campaign Gustavus.
“The Campaign is incredibly necessary for students to even be able to attend Gustavus,” First-year student Jared Leonard said. He has received many scholarships that enable him to attend Gustavus.
Leonard is just one of many students who rely on these scholarships to have the opportunity to attend.
The Teaching & Learning objective gives students and faculty the tools needed for success, such as the construction of Beck Hall and endowed professorships.
“The great people that we need, and the great places we need to teach are probably the most visible pieces of [the Teaching & Learning objective],” Young said.
The pillar of Community sets out to provide a nurturing environment that enables students to lead lives of leadership and service.
“The campaign [also] supports community, which speaks to a recognition of our stakeholders that the College has a unique identity and unique spirit, and therefore I think a beautiful campus that is both beautiful but also a place of teaching and learning,” said Young. These proceeds set out to build the architectural and aesthetic aspects and needs of the campus, such as Eckman Mall.
“The College wins, the donor wins, because they’re looking for a great place for their philanthropy, and, most importantly, the students, the faculty and the community win because we have the resources to get done what we want to get done,” Young said.
Still, with such a huge campaign, donors may worry about where their money may actually end up.
“You don’t give to Gustavus, people give through Gustavus. Because the people who want to give will believe so strongly that the 600 or so students that leave here each year are the kind of people that will create communities. The kind of leaders that will make the decisions that will make us all proud, and help create the communities on small levels and large levels that we want to live in,” Young said.
While caught between the stresses of college, it can be difficult for students to visualize what lies past graduation.“[Students] are here for four years, but the college will stay with them forever,” Young said.
It is important to think long term, not only for your future, but the legacy that will be set for future Gustavus students.
Even though the Campaign has reached $100 million, there is still a long way to go in terms of reaching the final goal of $150 million – Young said the future is too unforeseeable to predict any possible roadblocks. When asked what will happen when Campaign Gustavus finally does hit its mark, Young said, “I’m going to go on vacation.”