2017 Bucknell Calendar Now Available
Make your gift before Dec. 31 to enjoy beautiful images of campus all year long.
By David Surgala
What are common myths about Bucknell’s need for support, and what is the truth?
TRUTH: Ask any student why he or she chose Bucknell, and you’re likely to hear a recurring theme: “This is what college is supposed to look like.” We do have a beautiful campus; in some ways, an archetypal liberal arts campus.
But appearances can be misleading. It takes tremendous resources to maintain our buildings and grounds, as well as the not-so-obvious infrastructure necessary to create comfortable, convenient and safe living-and-learning spaces.
There is an additional challenge. In the last 30 years, the expectations for private universities to provide outstanding amenities and campus settings for students have dramatically escalated — whether the most advanced (and expensive) campus technologies, superb fitness facilities or residence halls with all the latest features. Our primary objective is to provide a first-class learning experience, but as a residential university, we cannot take such expectations lightly.
Behind the 500 acres of winding paths, towering trees and warm red brick is an institution that the data show is overly reliant on tuition and fees, with a far-from-competitive per-capita endowment. This campaign aspires to change all that and make our financial resources match our appearance.
TRUTH: The short story: No, it hasn’t. And yes, it will.
The University’s single-largest gift since WWII is $15 million; the second-largest, $11 million. The generosity of Bucknell donors makes us confident that the campaign now underway will lead to a number of other gifts of this scale or even larger.
But while large gifts can fund large-scale projects and programs, all gifts are crucial to University operations. This is especially true of the Annual Fund, which is put to immediate use where it is needed most, and benefits every Bucknell student. More than 80 percent of Annual Fund gifts are less than $500. Last year, these donations added up to nearly $1.3 million. Every program across the University benefits from these gifts. There is strength in numbers.
TRUTH: Actually, no. We are overly reliant on net tuition and fees (i.e., not including our distribution of $47 million in financial aid), which comprise about 73 percent of our operating budget. The rest comes from endowment income (15 percent), gift revenue (6 percent), research grants (2 percent) and other sources (4 percent).
As all of higher education adjusts to the fact that universities must hold the line on significant tuition increases, our extreme dependence on tuition and fees will become a great competitive challenge, and endowment will become an even greater differentiator between institutions that thrive or falter.
Gifts to the Annual Fund are particularly important in keeping Bucknell as affordable as possible to the most qualified students.
TRUTH: While Bucknell is certainly fortunate to have a $600 million endowment, as the facts above indicate the budget realities are challenging. We are highly dependent on tuition as a source of income in an era when we must contain comprehensive fee increases if we want to remain competitive for and accessible to the best students of all backgrounds. This puts increasing pressure on endowment to make up the costs of educating students at the level Bucknell does.
The 15 percent of our annual budget that comes from the endowment is a product of investment income on the endowment. We spend our endowment at a rate of about 4.5 percent per year. This is in keeping with related statutes for nonprofits. More than that, this rate of expenditure protects the endowment principal and preserves the spending power of the endowment relative to inflation. The remaining 95.5 percent of the endowment is perpetually reinvested to ensure Bucknell’s future strength and flexibility and to provide this income that is so essential to institutional operations.
Our challenge is underscored by the fact that many of Bucknell’s peer and aspirant schools boast a considerably higher endowment per student and per professor. This creates particular concern when private colleges and universities, especially the most competitive institutions such as Bucknell, depend upon endowment as the element that separates their ability to recruit and retain the finest students and faculty and deliver the cutting-edge programs students interested in such places expect. With the pressures already on Bucknell’s tuition and fees, the importance of the endowment to Bucknell is only growing.
Considering what our students, faculty and staff have accomplished despite this relative competitive disadvantage, imagine what Bucknell could do if its resources matched its scale. || Learn more about the endowment by reading Endowment 101 in this issue.
TRUTH: Actually, we would not be the Bucknell we know today, or have known for decades, without financial aid. Half of our students receive financial aid from the University, and a full 62 percent receive financial aid in some form from Bucknell, the federal government or other sources. Financial aid opens doors to opportunity, changes lives and brings great students to Bucknell who could not afford attending our University otherwise. Almost all the students who receive financial aid from Bucknell receive need-based scholarships — only 3 percent of them receive merit aid.
We are committed to providing financial aid because we know that we would not be able to recruit and retain the best students from all backgrounds without it — which means we would not be the Bucknell we are without it and would not otherwise be providing an education preparing our students for success in a global society.
David Surgala is Bucknell’s vice president for Finance and Administration.
Make your gift before Dec. 31 to enjoy beautiful images of campus all year long.
The 36,000-square-foot addition to the Bucknell University campus provides a new home for student health, wellness and counseling services, and a world-class wrestling training facility.
The program will increase the impact of Bob '45 and Doris Malesardi's $20 million commitment to support financial aid.
The success of WE DO has strengthened the University, and more opportunities lie ahead.
The gift from Randy and Kathy MacDonald P'02 reflects their support for beyond-the-classroom learning.
The Malesardi Family Quadrangle honors Bob '45 and Doris Malesardi's $20 million pledge to financial aid — the single-biggest commitment in Bucknell's history.
The one-day giving event broke participation records as it raised money to benefit students in every part of the University.
The $100,000 award will help students become creative problem-solvers in their careers.
The $20 million commitment by Bob and Doris Malesardi will be used solely for financial aid.
At the advent of a new scholarship in his name, liberal-arts legend Jack Wheatcroft '49 is honored.
Bucknell University Professor Karen Castle, chemistry, has been selected as the first recipient of the Russell-Childers Professorship in the Laboratory Sciences.
Foundation grant allows aspiring engineers from the Motor City to sample the campus scene at Bucknell.
The award enhances the University's ability to recruit and enroll students who have demonstrated excellence in music.
More than 200 alumni, parents and friends gathered to celebrate the University's recent accomplishments and plans for the future.
WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell University, is going strong — and the University hopes to keep that momentum moving for future students.
The ExxonMobil Foundation has given more than $1.8 million to Bucknell since 2002.
A record number of Bucknellians came together to raise more than $1.7 million for students on April 23 in the University’s most successful one-day giving challenge yet.
Bucknell's WE DO event showcased the College of Engineering.
The Human Health Initiative allows Bucknell students and faculty to team up with medical professionals for research opportunities - and for the greater good.
Each year, the University holds a Scholarship Day Celebration with events to thank donors of endowed and named annual scholarships.
Bucknellians in Southern California get the star treatment.
Faculty fellowships do more than pay for research and equipment. They bring the brightest scholars to Bucknell — and help keep them here.
The University dedicated its newest building on Nov. 15 and honored the generosity of the Bucknellian who made it possible.
It was a capital night for a Bucknell celebration in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 8. More than 500 Bucknell alumni, parents and friends gathered at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery for the final WE DO Tour stop of 2014.
The Windy City was the latest stop on the national tour for WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell University, drawing more than 130 alumni, parents and friends to the Ravenswood Event Center on Sept. 19.
The following links are virtual breadcrumbs marking the 27 most recent pages you have visited in Bucknell.edu. If you want to remember a specific page forever click the pin in the top right corner and we will be sure not to replace it. Close this message.