The private phase of the campaign yields good results in a bad economy.

By Christina Masciere Wallace

Leanne Freas ’50 met David Trout ’50 on a blind date in their sophomore year of college. Still exhausted from exams, they married the day after graduation. The couple stayed deeply involved with Bucknell — David served for many years as a Trustee — and they were proud to see two children and three grandchildren graduate from the University.

After her husband’s death in 2007, Leanne wanted to make a special gift in his memory — “something that the University needed,” she says. When she learned of the opportunity to endow a professorship in French, Leanne was thrilled. A French major, she fondly recalls living in French House and meeting with other students in the home of their favorite professor, Madame Gladys Cook.

The David Morton and Leanne Freas Trout Professorship of French is the first endowed faculty position funded by the comprehensive campaign. Leanne also made a significant gift to endow a scholarship for students of French. “I hope to inspire others to make their own gifts to Bucknell,” she says.

Bucknellians are indeed showing their support — and in record numbers.

While many colleges and universities are struggling with fundraising, Bucknell is making a strong start in the most ambitious campaign in the University’s history.

President Brian C. Mitchell in January announced that commitments to the comprehensive campaign have surpassed $101 million, or more than one-quarter of the $400 million goal. More than 26,000 individuals have contributed since the private phase of the campaign began in July 2007.

“These wonderful early results are a testimony to the loyalty of our alumni, parents, grandparents, faculty, staff and friends, and to their confidence in the future of this institution,” Mitchell said. “Their generosity is particularly meaningful in the current economic climate, which has adversely affected fundraising throughout higher education.”

Among the early campaign highlights:

  • Scholarship giving, the University’s top campaign priority, has surpassed $27 million, or more than 25 percent of total campaign commitments.
  • New campaign commitments to Bucknell have doubled.
  • Seven individual donors, six of whom are trustees or former trustees, have given campaign gifts that total more than $30 million.

Trustee Ken Freeman ’72, chairman of the campaign, attributes the campaign’s early momentum to the loyalty of Bucknellians and their support for the University’s future plans.

“There are so many Bucknellians around the world who care deeply about this place — alumni, parents and friends,” he says. “The experience of being campaign chair has given me the chance to see the very high level of loyalty to this institution. We can be loyal in several ways — by giving of our time, our talents and our financial resources. It’s great to see so many people making financial commitments of significance that will help Bucknell achieve its vision and become an even stronger university.”

The campaign, which is expected to continue for six or seven more years, has already resulted in 12 fully funded new scholarships, three endowed faculty positions and new internships and research funding. Two recently announced major gifts, including Trout’s, will also support academics.

Although the global economy has suffered in recent months, Freeman remains confident that the University will reach its campaign goal.

“We are very committed to raising a significant amount of money. Because the campaign is spread out over multiple years, it will absorb fluctuations in the economy,” he says. “The early evidence is that in this fiscal year, Bucknell’s rate of giving has actually increased, which is really encouraging news.”

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