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Century Campaign Ends

By Skip Tate

On the bottom line, The Century Campaign looks like this: $125.3 million. On campus, it looks like this: the Cintas Center, Gallagher Center, academic and residential malls, a new residential hall, three restored buildings (Hinkle, Schmidt and Edgecliff) and a far more landscaped and attractive campus. On the whole, it looks like this: the most successful fund-raising effort in the 170-year history of the University.

The $125.3 million brought in by the nine-year endeavor, which was completed in May, was more than four times the $31 million raised in the previous campaign, and well beyond the amount even the experts thought the University could raise. An international consultant estimated at the beginning of the campaign that the most the University could raise was $60 million. The cost of everything the University wanted to do, however, was well beyond that amount. Rather than lowering its goals, though, the University, led by former President James Hoff, S.J., and the board of trustees, aimed high.

“When the University put together its strategic plan in 1994, the cost of the plan was more than $100 million,” says Hoff. “The Xavier board of trustees, led by chairman Mike Conaton, gladly accepted the challenge. Then the board, alumni and friends stepped up and made it happen.”

Physically, the campus is different as a result. Financially, it’s different as well. Along with the most obvious additions—Cintas Center, Gallagher Center, which will open in January, and The Commons apartments—the campaign paid for the $8 million renovation of the West Row buildings, and the $2 million renovation of the academic and residential malls. The campaign also created some less obvious but equally vital benefits. Namely: growing the endowment. While all of the money brought in by The Century Campaign could have easily been spent on physical improvements to the campus, the University set aside a portion of the funds for the endowment. Among other things, the endowment provides student scholarships and financial aid, pays for visiting scholars, and eases the budgetary dependence on tuition. Entering the campaign, the endowment was only $24 million, which is woefully small for a university Xavier’s size. It’s now close to $90 million—almost four times as large as it was, but still not nearly where it should be.

“Increasing the endowment is an ongoing goal,” says President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “A healthy endowment, which I would define as two times the annual budget, is a necessary indicator for a vibrant, innovative University. It is necessary to take this place to the next level.”

While the endowment still needs funding, what’s encouraging, says Jim Jackson, director for development, is that the University also saw growth in the number of alumni and friends who gave—in both large and small amounts—to the campaign.

“You could count on your hands the number of people in the past who contributed more than $25,000,” says Jackson. “Now it’s in the hundreds. And our major gifts are now counted in the millions.”

The next step in the evolution of the University is a new strategic plan, which will be created in the next year and followed by plans for a future fund-raising campaign. What projects will that include? Possibly a new classroom building, an enhanced library, a new student recreation center, and the endowment of additional faculty chairs.

“As big as The century Campaign has been,” says Gary Massa, vice president for University Relations, “the biggest legacy it leaves is it sets the groundwork for the upcoming campaign. because of what’s happened in the last seven or eight years, we’re at the most exciting moment in the University’s history right now. The chance we have to make things happen over the next six or seven years is incredible.”

Illustration by David Clark

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