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Monmouth College announces $75 million capital campaign for academic excellence

10/11/2013
President Mauri Ditzler announces a $75 million capital campaign at the President's Homecoming Gala on Friday night.

A $75 million capital campaign for academic excellence was formally announced by Monmouth College president Mauri Ditzler at a homecoming banquet Friday night.

Titled “Fulfilling the Promise,” the campaign will fund four distinct academic areas, each tied to a guiding principle contained in the college’s strategic plan: complex problem solving ($42 million), active learning ($12 million), discerning a purpose ($7 million) and civic engagement ($5 million). An additional $4 million will be designated for endowed scholarships, and $5 million will be targeted to the annual fund.

“Now is a critical moment for Monmouth College,” Ditzler told the gathered audience, as well as distant viewers watching via a live web stream. “While the current economic, political, and cultural climate is exerting great pressure on private, residential liberal arts colleges, Monmouth is positioned to begin reaping the benefits of three decades of strategic planning and execution. Our recent upturn in the size, quality and revenue per student of the entering class confirms that we are on the right track.”

Ditzler said that as the campaign enters its public phase, it is nearly 73 percent complete, with $54.5 million in gifts already pledged or received. The largest portion funded the construction of the recently completed Center for Science and Business, which cost an estimated $40 million.

The campaign will establish several endowed funds to promote academic excellence, including: faculty innovation and development, undergraduate research, student travel, study abroad, and community service projects. New endowed faculty positions will also be funded, as will programs in debate and civil discourse, entrepreneurship, career and leadership development, and religious leadership.

Other key components will include the establishment of a civic engagement center to coordinate and promote student volunteerism, the construction of additional Greek life residence housing, and the renovation of Marshall Hall to house the recently established Lux Center for Church and Religious Leadership.

“Twenty years ago, the board of trustees made a strategic decision to construct a model campus for Monmouth College as a prelude to constructing a model academic program,” Ditzler said. “After an investment of $120 million, we now have that excellent campus and are well positioned to focus our energies on academic excellence.”

The capital campaign is the fifth in college history and the most ambitious, with a goal higher than the last two campaigns (in 1991 and 2003) combined. Serving as campaign chair is 1961 MC graduate Frederick Wackerle, of Chicago, Ill., and Tucson, Ariz., a retired executive search consultant. Bonnie Bondurant Shaddock ’54 of Laguna Woods, Calif., who also spoke at the event, and Walter S. Huff Jr. ’56 of Sandy Springs, Ga., are the honorary campaign co-chairs. Directing the campaign is Mary Stahl, a senior development officer for the college.

Ditzler also announced that the board had earlier in the day voted to establish a pilot program for academic enhancement called Triads for Excellence. In its first year, the program will hire three new faculty members in three separate disciplines, who, in addition to their departmental responsibilities will work together as a team to create a new distinctive academic program.

The initial triad, Ditzler said, will study issues related to food security. “We may hire one faculty member in business to study the logistics of food distribution, the impact of government subsidies and the role of commodity markets; one faculty member in science to examine the implications of genetic modifications and agrichemicals; and one faculty member in the humanities to review such topics as the ethics of food distribution, environmental stewardship and demographic shifts,” he explained.

Future triad projects may focus on geosciences, informational science, undergraduate research, Midwest issues and pre-professional health programs.

More information about the capital campaign is available online at Fulfilling the Promise. Persons interested in participating in the campaign may contact Mary Stahl at 309-457-2151.