Campaign Flourishes with Conclusion Nearing

The most successful fundraising campaign in Kenyon’s history is strengthening the foundation for the College’s third century.


As Kenyon explores its past in its 200th year, giving to the Our Path Forward to the Bicentennial campaign is helping to ensure the College’s tradition of academic excellence continues long into the future. The comprehensive fundraising campaign, scheduled to conclude on June 30, has inspired the generosity of more than 20,000 donors to grow the College’s endowment and annual funds. Gifts have helped enhance Kenyon’s historic campus while also significantly increasing resources for scholarships and financial aid by more than $100 million.

“A look through Kenyon’s history shows that we have always benefited from the philanthropy of those who see the value in the liberal arts education and close community found here,” said President Julie Kornfeld. “Giving by today’s alumni, parents, faculty, staff and even students has been nothing short of remarkable and will allow Kenyon to thrive into our third century.”

The campaign was publically launched in 2018, following what was then the largest gift in Kenyon history of $75 million. In early 2021, a second record-breaking anonymous gift of $100 million allowed for the ongoing construction of new South Campus residences. The recent renovation of Bexley Hall into student residences was also largely funded by donor support. 

Efforts to increase endowed funds for scholarships and financial aid received a boost in fall of 2021 when the Kenyon Access Initiative (KAI) was launched. The effort to enroll students from families of limited financial means and those ineligible for government aid was jump-started by a pledged match of $25 million from the Schuler Education Foundation in Chicago, a long-time supporter of increasing access to higher education. Kenyon donors responded enthusiastically to the matching opportunity, committing more than $26.5 million to the endowed scholarships. 

The Schuler Education Foundation has since seen a dramatic downturn in their resources. They recently informed the five partner schools — Kenyon, Carleton College, Bates College, Tufts University and Union College — that they are unable to fulfill their financial commitment at this time. It is unclear when or if they will resume funding. Fortunately, this does not affect any students currently enrolled at Kenyon, thanks in large part to Kenyon’s own generous donors. “While this news is deeply disappointing, we remain committed to ensuring access to a Kenyon education for all talented students,” Kornfeld said.

“In meeting alumni and parents, I frequently hear praise for the life-changing impact of a Kenyon education — and also an understanding that investment is needed to sustain it. We are grateful to everyone who is making this campaign a historic success.”

Rose Fealy ’84, a member of the Board of Trustees and campaign tri-chair, was among the donors to KAI. “It is really gratifying — but perhaps not surprising — how many people are rising to this challenge, and supporting the goals of the campaign. We also set out to inspire gifts of all sizes to our annual funds, needed for daily life on the Hill, and our donors have responded,” she said.

The vast majority of donors in this campaign have given to the Kenyon Fund and the Parents Fund — gifts that are put to work right away for the benefit of students as part of the annual operating budget.  This year alone, many special gifts have been made in honor of the bicentennial that will be used to motivate others to give with matching funds. Those opportunities will take place most months on the 20th to 24th.

(A brief history of the impact of fundraising campaigns at Kenyon can be found throughout the bicentennial timeline.)