Dear Willamette Community,
The foundation of any strong fundraising program is its annual fund, and I’m proud and excited to report that the Willamette Annual Fund set a record for the third year in a row with $1.7 million in current use support for the university.
Through generous contributions to all three colleges and Bearcat Athletics, the Willamette Annual Fund generated immediate support for Willamette programs and scholarships equivalent to the annual proceeds of over $38 million in the endowment. While our Board of Trustees led the way with $477,504 in support of the annual fund, this growth is a community-wide effort.
Faculty and staff across the university supported Willamette this year, giving $84,637 in total, including $66,811 to the Willamette Annual Fund. A special thanks to our Faculty/Staff Campaign volunteers (Bill Kelm, Joni Roberts, Reyna Meyers, Karen Arabas and Barbara Stebbins-Boaz), who led by example with their own giving and encouraged others to make Willamette students the beneficiaries of their philanthropy.
Overall, friends of the university (alumni, past and current parents, trustees, foundations and more) pledged $17.8M in FY18 to bring the Willamette’s mission to life, exceeding last year’s totals and establishing a new, higher trend in donor support. In addition to the over $5 million pledged for scholarship support — our highest fundraising priority — Willamette received the largest pledge from a living donor in its history when Jim Albaugh ’72 honored his favorite math professor, Chester Luther, with a $5.5 million pledge in support of math and physics in the College of Liberal Arts.
The College of Law celebrated donations of seed funds for the Business Lawyering Institute and support for the Willamette University Public Interest Law Program, and also received the largest planned gift in the law school’s history from Marty Wolf ’57, LLB’60.
In Atkinson, a newly established endowment honors Dean Emerita Debra Ringold’s leadership through support of consequential education, while a separate donor family made a significant addition to the O’Neill Student Investment Fund.
The Hallie Ford Museum of Art (HFMA) received generous gifts, including several from the estate of Maribeth Collins, a long-time benefactor of HFMA and Willamette. The estate of a former facilities staff member, the late Clyde Spence, enhanced a scholarship fund that he created. Finally, significant gifts to the Chaplain’s Office, Willamette Academy and to equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives strengthened our campus’ commitment to our values and our motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.”
Significant progress was also made in defining our programming and communications around alumni and parent engagement for all three colleges. This includes a new partnership on alumni admissions volunteers with the undergraduate admissions office, the establishment of regional law alumni volunteers and the addition of the “Managing Up” series for Atkinson alumni, just to name a few.
In what we might consider the biggest success of the year, we implemented two Alumni Reunion Weekend events in nine months, successfully transitioning the program from being held during the academic year to just after graduation. While we host alumni engagement activities for all three colleges all over the country throughout the year, Alumni Reunion Weekend is our most important opportunity to reconnect alumni with the university. In spite of the algae blooms that tainted Salem’s water supply, and surprise upstream repairs to the Mill Race that diminished the stream’s current through campus, faculty and students helped us provide a robust educational and social program for more than 600 participants, exceeding our September 2017 attendance.
The Alumni Reunion Weekend transition allowed a record number of alumni to participate in a full weekend of events, with over 20 percent of our guests reliving their campus experiences by staying in residence halls and sorority houses. True to the ethos of our community, our alumni left the facilities in pristine shape in spite of the late-night social gatherings that were rumored to have occurred. The success of both weekends could not have been possible without the partnership of the whole campus — and especially our friends in Bon Appetit food service, facilities, campus safety and the many current and emeritus faculty who presented to and spent time with our alumni.
As President Thorsett travels around the country with me and members of the Advancement team, we often discuss how grateful we are for the community effort that creates a culture of philanthropy at Willamette. Ultimately, success for advancement is about strengthening and growing support for Willamette from our alumni, parents and friends — and it happens because we all work together to serve our students. Thanks to each of you who make Willamette a remarkable place to study, live and work. Thanks to your efforts, we are able to show how Willamette inspires students, sparks their creativity and transforms their lives. These rich Willamette experiences create incredible stories that bind generations of alumni with one another and the institution.
Vice President for Advancement