Campaign reaches $92 million goal
With nearly 8,000 donors, Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College has unprecedented momentum. The $92 million goal has been attained; however, three key projects await full funding. The campaign deadline has been extended to June 30 in order to raise full funding for renovations of The Commons and King Chapel, and to endow the Alumni Office as part of the transformation of Rood House into the Paul K. Scott Alumni Center.
Even before the most ambitious campaign in Cornell’s history comes to a close, its effects are being felt far and wide on campus. New scholarships have been endowed, many buildings—including The Commons, Pfeiffer Hall, Rood House (now the Paul K. Scott Alumni Center), and Wade House (now the Peter Paul Luce Admission Center)—have been renovated, and new, distinctive academic programs like the Berry Center are flourishing.
The latest project was the conversion of Rood House into the Paul K. Scott Alumni Center. The renovations renewed the 19th century building, yet left it with a familiar feel that welcomes alumni, especially those who lived in it as students. While touring the building, more than a few alumni have lingered in spaces they used to call home. Those spaces include a formal lounge area; new office spaces for the Alumni Office, College Advancement, and College Communications; new meeting spaces available to anyone on campus; and space for a future phonathon call center. Richard Small ’50 and honorary alumna Norma Small have a $1 million commitment to the Scott Alumni Center and challenge others to match their gift to create the Alumni Office endowment.
Some of the more exciting changes have included additions to academic programs. While Cornell Fellows and Dimensions led the charge, other programs like the Berry Center and the Pre-Law Program have improved and expanded the educational opportunities available to students. In recent months academic programs have accumulated some of the most significant gifts.
In July trustee Sheryl Atkinson Stoll ’70 and husband William donated $200,000 to fund The Commons renovation project and support the Pre-Law Program. Stoll helped create Cornell’s Pre-Law Program in 2005 in order to guide and prepare students in all major fields for successful admission to law school and careers in the legal profession. The program also supports Cornell’s Mock Trial team, which, in only its third year, qualified for the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament last spring.
Environmental studies is another program benefitting from Extraordinary Opportunities. Environmental studies received two grants in May and June of this year, from The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Cargill gave $10,000 per year for up to five years and an additional stock gift, and the Mellon Foundation granted $316,000 to enhance curriculum and further interdisciplinary study.
Including the Class of 1958 gift, these two grants raised the total given for environmental studies in just under a year to nearly $1 million.
The Class of 1959 also stepped up to the plate this year, raising $220,000 as part of their 50th reunion class gift. The bulk of the gift will help fund the planned renovation of the exterior of King Chapel, the 127-year-old centerpiece of Cornell’s historic campus. The renovation of the chapel will include the shoring up of the walls, replacement of the roof, repairs to the clock and clock tower, and the addition of an elevator. The remaining portion of the Class of 1959 reunion gift will go toward the annual fund to directly support the student experience.
Athletics has benefitted from the campaign as well, most recently in the form of a $25,000 gift from Jim Hughes ’63 to support athletic programs and help refurbish the Richard and Norma Small Multi-Sport Center, the effects of which can already be seen.