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‘Light This Candle’ campaign to increase endowment by at least $75 million

Duane Bonifer
Pictured at the campaign kickoff event Friday are, from left: John Osterlund, vice president for development and college relations; the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott, chaplain; Mary Corrigan '82, president of the Alumni Board; Maggie Bruckner '20, president of the Associated Students of Monmouth College; board of trustees member Gus Hart '68; psychology professor Joan Wertz, chair of Faculty Senate; First Lady Lobie Stone; and President Clarence Wyatt.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – The candle is lit.

Monmouth College has launched a campaign to significantly bolster the national liberal arts college’s endowment. “Light This Candle: The Campaign for Monmouth College” aims to raise a minimum of $75 million by Dec. 31, 2022. More than 60 percent of the goal – about $45.3 million – has already been reached.

Monmouth’s “Light This Candle” campaign will increase financial aid and scholarships available to students; create more opportunities for faculty and staff support and academic innovation; add to a capital improvements fund that supports campus infrastructure; and create a stronger financial base for the College by building an even stronger culture of philanthropy.

The chairman of the campaign is College trustee William Goldsborough of Glen Ellyn, Ill., a 1965 Monmouth alumnus and immediate past-chairman of the board of trustees. Working along with him will be board of trustees chairman Mark Kopinski of New York, a 1979 Monmouth alumnus.

The campaign was announced on Friday on campus at a ceremony in the Mellinger Commons in the Center for Science and Business and then to select alumni and friends at a Saturday ceremony in Chicago.

Building the Monmouth of the future

One of the strengths of the “Light This Candle” campaign is that it addresses the needs “of the Monmouth College of today and of the future,” said Goldsborough.

“By focusing on endowment growth, and increasing annual and deferred giving, we will enhance the opportunities for Monmouth’s current students,” Goldsborough said. “And by building our endowment, we will strengthen the College’s longer-term financial position and enhance the opportunities for the children and grandchildren of our current student body.”

Goldsborough said that the campaign’s success “will also allow the College greater control over its long-term destiny at a time when many colleges and universities face very uncertain futures.”

Kopinski said that the goals of the “Light This Candle” campaign also honor Monmouth’s heritage of being “a voice for reason, for intellect, for community in the midst of chaos.”

“Since its founding in 1853, Monmouth has been a place of inclusiveness, enrolling women and people of color, defying the conventions of the day,” said Kopinski. “Even as the Civil War swept across the country, then-President David Wallace was determined to keep the College open, declaring in the fall of 1862, ‘We must educate, whether there be peace or war.’

“In its own way, our world today is just as chaotic as in the time of the College’s founding. Our national and global societies yearn for – indeed, demand – people empowered to lead us through these challenging times.”

Answering the call

Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt said Monmouth is uniquely positioned to answer that call.

“Monmouth College is about freeing the possibilities that are inherent in the lives of our students – to empower young people to live their lives to the fullest and to realize their greatest potential,” said Wyatt. “But to do that, we first have to free the possibilities that are inherent in Monmouth College. This moment – this campaign – is all about being able to do that; to free our possibilities at the College at an even higher level.

“This campaign represents the next stage in the evolution of the residential liberal arts experience. In this time of dramatic change for higher education, Monmouth has not just the opportunity, not just the necessity, but the duty to lead.”

Monmouth’s endowment currently stands at about $120 million, and Wyatt said the “Light This Candle” campaign is already running ahead of schedule.

“It is common practice for campaigns such as this to make their public announcements upon reaching 50 percent of the goal,” he said. “However, we wanted to wait until we reached 60 percent – in this case, more than $45.3 million in gifts and commitments have already been made to the College.”