More Light!

Lawrence University officials kicked off a weekend-long celebration Friday evening by announcing the college’s most ambitious capital campaign had surpassed its goal by more than $10 million.

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President Jill Beck delivered the record-setting total of the $150 million “More Light!” campaign to an audience of alumni and friends of the college during a program highlighting many of the campaign’s accomplishments.

The “More Light!” campaign began in 2005 with a “quiet phase” and was publicly launched in October 2008 with a goal of $150 million.  Its $160 million total more than doubled Lawrence’s last major capital campaign, which ended in 1997 and raised $66.3 million, surpassing its goal of $60 million.

The campaign finished in a flurry, generating more than $3 million in gifts in the last week to push it over the $160 million mark.

“There can be no question that the unwavering generosity and determination of our alumni, friends and supporters, represented in gifts totaling more than $160 million and given during the most difficult economic period since the Great Depression, have transformed this institution,” said Beck. “The ‘More Light!’ campaign will have an enduring legacy that will positively impact the educations of countless Lawrentians far beyond our lifetimes.”

More than $25 million of the campaign’s total was designated for endowed student scholarships, which is expected to generate an additional $1.25 million annually for scholarship support. More than 90 percent of Lawrence students receive some form of financial aid, with aid packages averaging $29,500.

“As an institution, we have always held firm to the belief that students of all backgrounds and financial means should have the opportunity to benefit from a Lawrence educational experience,” said Beck. “The ‘More Light!’ campaign enables us to continue to recruit the brightest, most innovative students regardless of their need.”

The campaign was launched with four major goals: grow the endowment, complete new capital projects debt-free, further enhance the academic experience for all students and bolster the Lawrence Fund for annual operating expenses.  More Light! Campaign Co-Chair Bill Hochkammer ’66 told alumni and friends gathered for the finale that the campus is transformed. (Click on the arrow)

And Hochkammer’s fellow Campaign Co-Chair Harry Jansen Kraemer ’77 reminded people that More Light! is not about the dollars … (Click on the arrow)

Richard and Margot Warch Campus Center

While the most noticeable success of the campaign may be the physical changes to the campus — the $35 million, 107,000-square-foot Richard and Margot Warch Campus Center, the largest building project in the school’s history, being the grandest change — the less visible but vital campaign accomplishments enable the university to continue to attract exceptional students from a broad socio-economic spectrum and expand the college’s emphasis on individualized learning experiences.

“The success of the ‘More Light!’ campaign ripples well beyond the campus borders, providing an economic boost for the broader Fox Valley community,” said Bob Buchanan, long-time member of Lawrence’s Board of Trustees and former CEO of Fox Valley Corporation.  “The new construction and extensive renovations that took place during the campaign provided work for local contractors and supported area suppliers. Funds were funneled into these projects from all corners of the country and reinvested right here in our community, benefiting Lawrence as well as the greater Fox Valley.”

Beyond the Warch Campus Center, the campus added Hurvis Crossing, a land bridge over Lawe St., expanded the Björklunden Lodge on Lawrence’s “northern campus” in Door Country to more than double its original size, created the Riverwalk nature trail along the Fox River, renovated the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and made improvements to residence halls.

Gifts to the endowment bolstered the university’s ability to provide necessary student scholarships, created four new named professorships in the sciences and conservatory of music, increased the total number of faculty and the competitiveness of their salaries.

New initiatives designed to enhance the fabric of the Lawrence community and broaden learning opportunities such as the Lawrence Fellows Program and Posse Scholars, were supported by gifts to the endowment and the Lawrence Fund.

Awards from private family foundations have enabled Lawrence to strengthen its curriculum through Senior Experience, a student capstone experience, dance studies and an expanded interdisciplinary approach to film studies.

“This campaign has moved Lawrence forward in both tangible and intangible ways,” said Beck. “Our alumni, relating the significance of their learning experiences to their own satisfaction and success, have been willing and eager to ‘pay it forward.’  Equally important, our alumni have been very generous with their time. They have responded enthusiastically and productively to requests to share their ideas, wisdom and networks of connections with new generations of Lawrence students.”

See other “More Light!” campaign highlights here.