Campus update on advancement

by University Communications,

VP Shelby Radcliffe shares an update on FY19 progress to date.


Dear Willamette Community,

As you return from what I hope was a restful winter break, I write to share some updates and progress on giving for the year and on our broader campaign efforts.

So far this year (Fiscal Year 2019), we’ve raised $9 million in cash and commitments toward the campaign, bringing our campaign total to $41.6 million. This includes gifts from loyal supporters of Willamette, as well as from donors making their very first gifts. We celebrate every gift that comes to us, but I’m especially excited to share a few highlights of this year’s campaign giving:

  • We have received a total of $1.25 million in Annual Fund gifts for the year — including gifts from almost 200 Willamette faculty and staff — which are critical to provide us with current-use funds for all three colleges, Bearcat Athletics, and university-wide programs and scholarships. (Special thanks to our volunteers who have joined the Faculty & Staff Giving Committee to help raise additional funds through peer-to-peer outreach!)
  • Our alumni have created six new endowed scholarship funds totaling nearly $1 million.
  • One of our donors has designated a $1.1 million estate bequest to support the university’s greatest needs.
  • Willamette Academy received a $500,000 estate gift that will help support their work for years to come.

This combination of current use (annual fund) and future use (endowed and estate gift funds) gifts signals our donors’ support for Willamette University today, as well as their vision for sustaining the university into the future.

In addition to gifts to our Annual Fund, we have received a number of other current-use gifts that are having an immediate effect on the Willamette educational experience — particularly in expanding high-impact, cocurricular learning experiences for our students. We have received three generous gifts from alumni that will support undergraduates pursuing internships in the fields of politics, allied health and the nonprofit sector. Taken together with other internship funds, these gifts will allow our Office of Career Development to award over $35,000 to support CLA students who are taking on low- or non-paid internships in summer 2019. And for those of you following Bearcat Athletics, alumni support also helped to fund the renovation of Sparks Field this summer, as well as the naming of the new women’s lacrosse team room for former Willamette coach and women’s athletics director, Fran Howard.

While we’re excited about our fundraising success, our alumni engagement team is also working hard to offer opportunities to connect current and future Bearcats. This year, we’ve engaged 585 alumni and parents in official volunteer roles across admissions, career, and regional programs. One highlight of this work is our partnership with admissions to support recruiting and enrollment efforts. This summer and fall, we partnered to increase the number of first-year student yield events from 8 to 14 — engaging over 100 prospective students and their families, as well as 27 alumni and 16 parent volunteers in these events. We’ve also launched the university’s first-ever comprehensive alumni survey, which went out to our global network of 28,000 CLA, Atkinson, and College of Law alumni earlier in January. This survey will help us to understand how our alumni already connect — and want to further connect — with one another and with Willamette. We hope to share the results of this survey with you later this spring.

We owe our campaign progress in large part to your partnership. By meeting with alumni, donors and parents; partnering with Advancement staff on projects; making your own gifts to Willamette; and offering our students the distinctive Willamette education that they’ll remember as alumni for years to come, you bring our work to life. Thank you for helping us with a successful 2018, and I look forward to sharing updates in the months ahead.


Shelby Radcliffe

Vice President for Advancement

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