Poised for an extraordinary future

Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College is a five-year, $92 million effort to build the college’s endowment, upgrade its facilities, and enhance the academic program. On the following pages, President Les Garner explains the traditions and vision that led to this ambitious campaign, and how it will make Cornell an even stronger institution.

By President Leslie H. Garner Jr.

Campaign LogoAt Cornell College’s sesquicentennial, we celebrated a distinguished history and affirmed the belief of Cornell’s founders that education is essential to a civil society. Our founders were pioneers. So are we. While they faced challenges of leadership in a new state in a nation on the verge of civil war, we must face challenges of leadership in a world characterized by intense global interaction, extensive use of technology, and constant and unpredictable change.

Over 150 years, Cornell’s campus has grown from a lone building on 15 acres of prairie to a 129-acre wooded hilltop campus of 43 buildings. As it has grown, Cornell has gained a strong reputation as a national liberal arts college. With a national reputation and one of the country’s most distinctive academic calendars, Cornell College is well positioned to excel in the 21st century. But, like other small private colleges, it faces intense competition for students and funding.

To ensure a strong future, Cornell must continue to enhance its high academic quality by building its endowment and investing in new innovative programs. It also must continue to offer scholarships that will enable talented and deserving students to attend the college.

That is why it is necessary and appropriate to launch Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College. This campaign is the largest and most ambitious in our history, and will set the stage for our next 150 years. Now it is time to infuse the college with the funds necessary to set us apart and secure our place as one of America’s very best colleges.

Our campaign is all about the education of our students and creating extraordinary opportunities for them. The $92 million goal addresses three core areas:

  • $50 million for endowment. A larger permanent endowment will produce sustained income necessary to support faculty members, students, and the work they do together on and off campus. The enhanced endowment will provide for scholarships and professorships, off-campus study opportunities for more students, and academic programs such as the Berry Center, Dimensions, and the library’s Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • $31 million for capital projects. These projects are critical to our academic program and to the vibrancy of campus life. Cornell’s recently revised Master Plan calls for immediate renovations to and expansions of The Commons, Pfeiffer Hall, and King Chapel, and a long-term plan for West Science Center.
  • $11 million for program initiatives. A major purpose of this campaign is to increase funding for annual revenue in order to support essential campus functions. This goal will be achieved through gifts to the Annual Fund, providing sustainable and immediate impact on the lives of students.

Just as a Cornell education was essential to the world that existed for its founders, it is essential today. I would argue that it is more important than ever. A Cornell education transforms students’ lives so they can bring meaning to their own and the lives of others, and so that they are prepared to lead and serve. Today we transform lives by providing students with one extraordinary opportunity after another—in the classroom, on campus, and around the world.

At our sesquicentennial, we acknowledged Cornell as one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. At that time, we accepted the challenge to make plans to secure our position. Those plans are made. Now they must be realized. The Extraordinary Opportunities Campaign will allow us to provide extraordinary opportunities for our students, and prepare them to lead and serve in our rapidly changing world.

Campaign goal: $92 million

Why a campaign now?

  • Build the endowment to secure Cornell’s future.
  • Invest in critical facilities, including The Commons, Pfeiffer Hall, and King Chapel.
  • Increase annual revenue to support essential campus functions, providing sustainable and immediate impact on the lives of students.

How to contribute:

We welcome the opportunity to speak with you about the goals of Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College and how those might mirror your own philanthropic objectives. We invite you to contact Peter Wilch ’94, vice president for alumni and college advancement, and start a conversation about your interest in Cornell College. Peter may be reached at (319) 895-4315 or pwilch@cornellcollege.edu.

More info: www.cornellcollege.edu/campaign