Kenyon ExcellenceGAMBIER, Ohio (April 24, 2010) The "We Are Kenyon: The Drive for Excellence" campaign leapt ahead in one dynamic evening on Friday when about $40 million in new commitments were announced before the combined boards of trustees of the College, the Kenyon Review, and the Philander Chase Corporation at Peirce Hall.
The gifts include an anonymous estate commitment of $30 million, the largest such gift in Kenyon history, and bring to $209.1 million the amount already raised toward the campaign goal of $230 million. Members of the combined boards of trustees helped launch the final year of the campaign, 2010-11, by contributing $3.7 million, including many second contributions by trustees to the campaign. Donations of $5.2 million by alumni, foundations, friends, and parents were also announced.
"This was an evening of examples of both extraordinary individual generosity and united purpose in service of the College," President S. Georgia Nugent said.
The new commitments were announced during the trustees' dinner in Peirce Hall by campaign chairman and College trustee Charles P. Waite Jr. '77, P '06 '10. "With this phenomenal head start, I have every reason to believe we will come together next year to celebrate achieving our goal of $230 million," Waite said. "I am humbled by the generosity of each and everyone."
The $230 million campaign came on the heels of Kenyon's last successful fund-raising effort, "Claiming Our Place," which raised $116 million by its close in 2001. Sarah Kahrl, vice president for college relations, sees both historic and new relationships as the bedrock of the "We are Kenyon" campaign. "Long-time supporters pledging gifts of a lifetime and younger donors and others making their first commitments are both fundamental to this campaign's success," Kahrl said. She noted the achievements of the 50 Under 50 group, those young alumni donors whose previous lifetime giving was $1.8 million but who have given $7.1 million to this campaign alone.
The dinner at Peirce was preceded by a ground-breaking event for the construction of north campus student housing and a celebration at the Hoehn-Saric House marking alumni trustee gifts to enhance international education.
About $3 million has been raised through the campaign to begin the first phase of construction of what will eventually be a village green with twenty townhouses for 220 students. Gund Partnership is designing the housing, and each of the buildings will be LEED-certified using geothermal wells for heating and cooling. Several of the houses will be configured to provide universal access for students.
The first townhouses are expected to be open for the 2012 academic year, "an exciting milestone," Nugent said. The housing gives Kenyon attractive and flexible housing while preserving green space and trees. "I'm confident that we have the right solution, at the right time, and in the right place for Kenyon," she said. Henry P. "Hank" Toutain, dean of students, said the new housing option will provide students the opportunity to make a transition into independent living.
The Hoehn-Saric House was dedicated as the home of the Center for Global Engagement, thanks to the generosity of College trustee Pamela Hoehn-Saric '80, P'10, and her husband, Christopher, through the Smart Family Foundation. Provost Nayef Samhat described the house as "a place where we can move beyond food, fabric, and festivals and explore the deeper meaning of global engagement."
At the dedication, Samhat also praised the establishment of the R. Todd Ruppert Chair in International Studies, created through the generosity of Ruppert '78, who is a College trustee, and his wife, Karen. Samhat announced that David M. Rowe, associate professor of political science, is the first chair. The chair "will indeed help us to enhance international studies at the College," Samhat said. "This position will help guide the program that has become one of the most popular majors here at Kenyon."
The campaign was launched on June 1, 2007, and was immediately boosted by a $10 million gift for scholarship from actor and philanthropist Paul Newman '49 and the Newman's Own Foundation.