When Bates founder Oren B. Cheney sought financial support for a new Maine
college -- a college "for coming time" -- he faced doubters. But Cheney had
enthusiasm on his side (quite literally, it was enthousiasmos, a Greek
word meaning "to be possessed or inspired by a god"; the familiar story is that
Cheney saw a vision of the new school and heard a heavenly voice: "Do this work
Cheney's enthusiasm never flagged. "Fail? I know no such word, nor do you," he once wrote. "The enterprise must be gone through with ... and we will put our hands and hearts to the work."
More than a century and a third later, in 1989, when Donald W. Harward became Bates's sixth president, he found a college of high principle and extraordinary achievement. However, he also found an institution whose aspirations were severely handicapped by its historic undercapitalization. While Oren Cheney confronted the very survivability of the College, Bates was faced with a more complex challenge as President Harward began his tenure: to sustain its admirable qualities and build upon its national reputation.
After a year of discussion and strategizing in 1990, the answer came clear. Bates needed to secure an unprecedented level of gift support in a relatively short time. A fund-raising campaign was in order. It was time again to put hands and hearts to the work.
The Bates Campaign: Building the Future, led by Trustee Helen A. Papaioanou, M.D. '49, began in 1991 with confidence as well as questions. For one, could Bates really raise $50 million in five years?
The history was encouraging. The College's 1978-1984 campaign had raised $21.4 million, many millions more than its $12.5-million goal. Before that, the largest campaign total was $6.8 million, raised from 1970 to 1974.
But during the Bates Campaign, the College would seek results far greater -- $50 million. Over the course of five years, ending on December 31, donors made gifts and pledges of $59,344,922, meeting the overall challenge.
In terms of specific dollar objectives, it is a rare fund-raising campaign that raises exactly what is projected for each objective. Predicting donors' specific philanthropic interests -- from endowment to building projects to the Annual Fund -- is more art than science. This campaign truism was once again proven in the Bates Campaign. Donors responded at record levels -- more than $59.3 million raised -- and generously oversubscribed some objectives. Other objectives were partially met, including revenues for campus facilities, which sought $17 million and raised $8 million. These unmet objectives -- especially support for a new academic building and a campus center -- will remain among the College's fund-raising goals in coming years.
Endowment support for scholarships and student research sought $8 million and received $16.2 million. Major support in this area included the $1-million scholarship gift in 1992 from Ralph T. Perry '51 and his wife, Joan Holmes Perry '51, who died in 1994. Their gift established an endowed scholarship fund for Maine students studying at Bates.
Endowment support for the faculty raised $5.5 million for new professorial chairs and resources for faculty research. Among the donors providing gifts of $1 million to create new endowed professorships were Euterpe Boukis Dukakis '25, a chair in classical and medieval studies, in memory of her husband, Panos '22, and son Stelian '53; Geraldine and Clark A. Griffith '53, a chair in environmental studies (see related story in "On and Off Campus"), and Alice Swanson Esty '25, a just-announced chair in music.
Endowment support for resources and programs raised $7.2 million, with more than $5 million in gifts to unrestricted endowment.
Prior to 1991, Bates had never before received a million-dollar gift from a living individual. But to succeed in its $50-million quest, the College needed to secure a number of such gifts. The question was begged: Could Bates do it?
The Moodys' gift, one of the earliest of the Campaign, forced a paradigm shift in Bates fund-raising expectations. During the Campaign, the College would receive fourteen more gifts of $1 million or more. (In 1993, the Moodys' gift named one of the residences within the Residential Village in the couple's honor.)
For the past few years, the campus has engaged in planning for the $17.5-million academic building. Fund raising for this project began in earnest last year and has continued after the December close of the Bates Campaign. Thus far, the College has received $7.5 million in gifts and pledges, with early leadership support coming from Ursula Pettengill HC'31 and from Ralph T. Perry '51, who pledged his second $1-million commitment of the Bates Campaign, in memory of his first wife, Joan Holmes Perry '51. Groundbreaking for the new building took place April 5.
The Annual Funds
The first objective was to increase the size of the permanent endowment, which in turn provides more investment income for the operating budget. A parallel strategy -- adopted aggressively during the Campaign -- was to increase the College's two annual funds, the Annual Alumni Fund and the Parents Annual Fund. Gifts to these funds are spent immediately -- not invested -- which increases their impact on the operating budget.
The net result of greater College emphasis on annual giving was $16 million raised over five years against a $5-million goal. Led consecutively by chairmen Jim Callahan '65 (1991-1994) and David Parmelee '64 (1995-1997), the Annual Alumni Fund went from under $1 million at the Campaign's start to nearly $2 million now.
Equally impressive has been the growth of the Parents Annual Fund during the Campaign. The Parents Annual Fund raised $150,000 in 1991-1992; this year, gifts will reach $300,000.
The result of the College's two-pronged fiscal strategy -- increased endowment coupled with higher annual giving -- has been to lower the College's dependency on tuition income. At the beginning of the decade, 86 percent of Bates operating revenue came from tuition. Now, the figure is closer to 76 percent.
"We set out five years ago the ensure that the philanthropy of Bates
alumni and friends would make a major, qualitative and quantitative difference
for Bates students and faculty of today and tomorrow," said President Harward.
"To those ends and others, the Campaign has more than met its promise. Our
appreciation is profound."
© 1997 Bates College.
All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: 7/30/97 by RLP