Record-breaking fundraising campaign concludes, reaching $513 million
Aspiration. It's a foundational element of Bucknell President John Bravman's vision for the University's future. It was aspiration that drove Bravman to increase the goal for WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell University, from $400 million to half-a-billion dollars before its launch in October 2012.
Now, less than five years later, the hope of achieving such an ambitious goal has been transformed into a reality — the University has surpassed WE DO's $500 million milestone, with campaign contributions standing at $513 million this fall.
"This is an extraordinary achievement, one only made possible through the commitment of tens of thousands of donors who not only believe in the power of a Bucknell education, but also aspire to make what is already an excellent institution even stronger," Bravman says.
From $10 to $10 million and more, commitments of all sizes from a total of 44,995 donors brought WE DO to its successful conclusion — and in impressive fashion: The University raised more than $100 million in the last 12 months alone, shattering the previous one-year record of $53.5 million.
The culminating moment came with a phone call to Bravman in mid-June. On the other end of the line was Ken Langone '57, P'83 with news that he and his wife, Elaine P'83, were pledging to make a future gift of $30 million — the largest single commitment in Bucknell's history — to benefit financial aid, the campaign's top priority.
With the conclusion of the campaign, the Langones also revealed they were behind a 2013 anonymous pledge of $10 million, also for future financial aid. Their WE DO gifts and pledges total more than $42 million.
"Through their continued support, Ken and Elaine have transformed the lives of an untold number of future Bucknellians," Bravman says. "On behalf of the entire Bucknell community, I extend my deepest gratitude to Ken and Elaine for their generosity and leadership." (For more on the Langones, see "Living the Dream.")
Campaign support will benefit Bucknell students, faculty and staff, and the campus now and in the future. More than $180 million has been raised for financial aid endowment, more than $100 million for academic programs and support, and more than $63 million for facilities. Finally, thousands of alumni, parents and friends have collectively given more than $130 million to the Bucknell Annual Fund.
"I am humbled to be part of such a devoted community of students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff, and friends," says Bravman, who is in his eighth year as Bucknell's 17th president. "It's difficult to express my deep gratitude for their belief in Bucknell. We pride ourselves on a tradition of great education and great outcomes, and the success of the WE DO Campaign positions Bucknell to evolve into an even stronger University for many decades to come — long after our time as stewards of this institution has passed."
The Langones' $30 million commitment was the second record-breaking gift of the campaign. In February 2016, Doris and Bob Malesardi '45, P'75, P'79, P'87 pledged $20 million to endowed scholarships and created a matching-gift program to amplify the impact of their support. To date, the matching program has inspired more than 90 gifts totaling nearly $26 million. In honor of their support and leadership, the University renamed the academic heart of campus the Malesardi Quadrangle.
"I am so grateful for the strong support of Bucknell alumni and parents from around the world, and I could not be more proud of our team," says Scott Rosevear, vice president for Development & Alumni Relations. "It was a tremendous collaborative effort by faculty, staff and volunteers, and it's gratifying to know that together with our supporters, we have positively impacted the Bucknell experience for current and future students."
One of the most important outcomes of WE DO is not measured in dollars, but in enthusiasm and support for the University on a scale never before seen among Bucknellians, Bravman noted. Over the course of the campaign, thousands of alumni, parents, volunteers and friends attended WE DO events both on campus and across the country.
This fall's Homecoming, Nov. 3–5, will feature a campaign celebration, as did Family Weekend, which occurred Sept. 22–24.
"We hope to see as many Bucknellians as possible come back to Lewisburg to join in the commemoration of this wonderful achievement, and to allow us to say 'thank you' in person," says Rosevear.
See the special campaign supplement to the Fall 2017 issue of Bucknell Magazine for more comprehensive information about this record-setting fundraising effort.
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