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Southwestern Launches $125 Million Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign

Southwestern University today (March 31) launched the largest fundraising campaign in its 166-year history - a $125 million comprehensive campaign designed to fund priorities in the university’s 2010 Strategic Plan.

These initiatives fall into four broad categories:

  • Supporting students
  • Supporting faculty
  • Diversity enrichment
  • Enhancing the living/learning environment on campus

Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign will run through June 30, 2009. University officials announced that they have already raised more than $53 million of the campaign goal during the “quiet phase” of the campaign, which began on July 1, 2002.

In the area of supporting students, Southwestern is seeking $23 million for additional merit and need-based scholarships. While 68 percent of Southwestern students demonstrate financial need, current resources can only meet the full need amount for 47 percent of those students. This gap is widening at a time when government appropriations for student aid are declining.

“‘Thinking Ahead’ means making the Southwestern educational experience available for talented students in all Texan families, and in the broader society,” said San Antonio businessman Red McCombs, a Southwestern alumnus who is one of three honorary co-chairs of the campaign.

Southwestern also would like to be able to increase the number of students who participate in its innovative Paideia® Program. A challenge grant of $3 million from the Priddy Charitable Trust in Wichita Falls, Texas, requires that Southwestern raise $9 million in matching dollars to fund Paideia student experiences, including study abroad, service learning, leadership and collaborative research.

In the area of supporting faculty, Southwestern is seeking $21 million to create additional endowed positions such as chairs and professorships that are vital to recruiting and retaining high-caliber faculty members. It also would like to increase the number of University Scholar positions, which require an endowment of $2.5 million. Southwestern’s strategic plan calls for the addition of 25 new faculty positions by 2010, and 14 have been added to date. Adding more faculty members will allow Southwestern to offer a broader curriculum and make it easier for students to get the classes they need to graduate.

Southwestern is seeking $6 million for diversity initiatives such as its Dixon Scholars Program, which was started in 1998 to provide scholarships for African American, Hispanic and Native American students. The program has proved to be extremely successful, with participants graduating at a higher than average rate.

Southwestern is seeking $50 million to increase the living/learning environment on campus, including raising additional funds for technology such as “smart classrooms” and wireless “hot spots” on campus.

Facility initiatives in the campaign include construction of new apartment-style residences and a Center for Lifelong Learning that will house the Paideia® Program as well as the career center, academic services, financial aid, business office and information technology services.

Southwestern also plans to renovate two historic buildings on campus as well as its fine arts building.

“This campaign will provide us with the means to offer an extraordinary transformational experience for our students,” said Southwestern Provost Jim Hunt.

Southwestern’s campaign is the largest ever undertaken by a liberal arts college in Texas. The University’s last major fundraising campaign, Leadership 2000: The Southwestern Campaign, ended in 1998 and raised $92.5 million.

“This campaign will provide the resources for us to compete with any of the great liberal arts colleges in America,” said Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum.

Schrum is one of three campaign co-chairs. The other two are Merriman Morton from Austin and Jim Walzel from Houston. Honorary co-chairs, in addition to McCombs, are Roy H. Cullen and Isabel Brown Wilson of Houston.

Vice chairs of the campaign are Genevieve Caldwell and Wesley Knapp of Amarillo; Tom Forbes of Austin; Frank Douglass and Larry Haynes of Dallas; and Doug Paisley and Ed and Suzanne Ellis of Houston.

The campaign cabinet includes Christine Bowman, Georgetown; John Duncan, Houston; Bob Karr, Essex, Conn.; Joey King, Fort Worth; Tom Locke, Georgetown; Griff Lord, Belton; Mike McKee, Hurst; Presley Mock, Dallas; Gary Nelon, Georgetown; Don Parks, Georgetown; Marjorie Schultz, Houston; Bob Scott, San Antonio; and Dan Stultz, San Angelo.

Campaign kickoff events include a March 31 lecture by Thomas Kean, who served as chair of the 9/11 Commission, and a gala dinner that evening. For more information on Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign, visit www.southwestern.edu/thinkingahead.

Southwestern University was founded in Georgetown in 1873, but has a charter dating back to 1840 that makes it the oldest institution of higher learning in Texas. The University is the top-ranked liberal arts college in Texas.