W&M Launches $1 Billion Fundraising Campaign

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The College of William & Mary announced Friday it would remove a plaque listing the names of William & Mary people who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War from the Wren Building. (Ian Brickey/WYDaily)
The College of William & Mary launched a $1 billion fundraising campaign, the largest in school history. (File Photo)

The College of William & Mary wants to raise $1 billion for what officials are calling a “people-centric” initiative.

William & Mary is the smallest public university in the U.S. to launch a campaign of this scale.

For the Bold: The Campaign for William & Mary publicly launched with a ceremony at the Wren Building on Thursday night, during which an anonymous $50 million commitment to the campaign – the largest donation in William & Mary history – was announced.

W&M Receives Largest Donation in School History

William & Mary raised more than $532 million – beyond the campaign’s 50 percent mark and more than the entirety of the college’s last campaign, which raised $517 million between 2000 and 2007 – during For the Bold’s quiet phase, which launched July 1, 2011 and has received more than 80 commitments and gifts worth more than $1 million.

Scholarships across all schools and programs are at the top of a list of initiatives the college hopes to push forward with the campaign. The college plans to use $350 million of the money raised for scholarships so “students of exceptional ability” can attend regardless of their financial situation, according to a news release.

Funds raised will also go toward a continued commitment to the college’s mission, state-of-the-art science equipment and enhancements to campus buildings.

“Here in the beloved precincts of the Sunken Garden so close to the heart of the historic campus, it is easy to remember the astonishingly rich history of the university and the mighty deeds its people have done over the centuries,” said President Taylor Reveley during the ceremony launching the campaign. “Here we can also delight in the enormous accomplishments of William & Mary in our time, and we can anticipate what is yet to come as alma mater realizes her enormous potential for the future. This campaign is a vital step toward that future.”

The campaign, launched on the eve of Homecoming 2015, also aims to strengthen alumni ties to each other and the college, setting a goal to increase alumni giving participation to 40 percent – a goal that would place William & Mary among the top four universities for alumni participation.

In fiscal 2015, the college had an alumni giving participation rate of 27.1 percent, which ranks William & Mary first in undergraduate alumni giving among public universities, the release states.

In the spirit of strengthening alumni relations, For the Bold will help fund alumni programming and career services.

“Our strength as an institution depends greatly on access to resources that enable the university to provide a first-rate liberal arts education and a campus community where scholars can excel in the classroom, on the field and in any professional environment,” said Sue Gerdelman, an alumna, chairwoman of the campaign and secretary of the college’s Board of Visitors. “For the Bold will allow William & Mary to continue to lead, to inspire and to influence positive change in our world.”

More than 600 people attended the campaign’s public launch Thursday in the Sunken Garden, which culminated with a candlelight ceremony and the singing of the alma mater in front of the historic Wren Building.

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