A ren­dering of the future placement of Christ Chapel between the Grewcock Student Union and the Dow Lead­ership Center. Sheila Butler | Courtesy

Less than a year before the close of Hillsdale College’s current fundraising cam­paign, the college has already raised more than its goal of nearly $500 million.

Since the July 1, 2012, launch of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning cam­paign, the insti­tution has raised $506.5 million toward capital projects, the endowment, and college oper­a­tions. It has earned an addi­tional $131 million for projects not listed under the cam­paign, as well.

“It’s amazing to see the support for Hillsdale College, and that it con­tinues to grow, not only from people across the country but also from faculty and staff,” said Nancy Johnson, exec­utive director of insti­tu­tional advancement.

The cam­paign is set to end on June 30, 2018. Upon its com­pletion, the college is planning on launching a new cam­paign, which is focused ten­ta­tively on fundraising for schol­ar­ships.

“Stu­dents are the heart and soul of the campus, so we have to support them,” Johnson said. “The field of com­pe­tition is getting stiffer. Uni­ver­sities are starting to offer ‘free’ tax­payer-paid tuition…We have to remain com­pet­itive to con­tinue to recruit good stu­dents.”

Money for schol­ar­ships account for more than half of the college’s endowment. The Rebirth of Liberty and Learning cam­paign had a goal of raising more than $151 million in endowed under­graduate schol­ar­ships. It has raised about 60 percent of that so far, according to Johnson.

Of all the money raised, $253.7 million went toward the college’s endowment, which itself sur­passed $500 million in January. The fund is now worth $528 million.

“We’re looking at ways to safe­guard the college,” said Patrick Flannery, college trea­surer and vice pres­ident of finance. “We want to make sure we keep the three streams of revenue as strong as pos­sible, so by growing that endowment, it will be able to strengthen the college.”

Hillsdale has three streams of revenue: student tuition, dona­tions, and the endowment. When donors give a one-time gift, the college spends the money. Hillsdale, however, invests endowment dona­tions into stocks and private equities. When it makes money on the interest, the college will spend a per­centage of it and reinvest the remainder.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Johnson said. “It holds the balance, but it usually grows a little bit.”

Although the college has sur­passed its goal for its current cam­paign, some projects remain under­funded, while it has beaten its goal in other areas such as main­te­nance and dorm ren­o­va­tions.

Johnson said she hopes the college will raise enough to cover the expansion of Phillips Audi­torium and the ren­o­va­tions of the Knorr Student Center and the Quad by the end of the cam­paign. Christ Chapel is less than $2 million short of its original con­struction cost.

Hillsdale is also seeking dona­tions for the Churchill project, endowed faculty chairs, and a new film and doc­u­mentary program. It is also looking to endow the Barney Charter School Ini­tiative.

“That helps us as fundraisers not have to chase down the money for that every year,” Johnson said. “But it’s growing program, so the needs for that grow every year.”

The effects of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning cam­paign, however, are already evident on campus. It paid for the Biermann Ath­letics Center, ren­o­va­tions to the Dow Hotel and Lead­ership Center, a fiber optic network, the John A. Halter Shooting Sports Edu­cation Center, ren­o­va­tions in the Roche Sports Complex, the Searle Center, and the Van Andel Graduate School of States­manship.

For now, Hillsdale will con­tinue to focus on reaching its goals, Johnson said.

“We stand ready to raise whatever Hillsdale needs to keep oper­ating,” she said.

  • George Gibbs

    Good to hear. Keep going — and always keep pru­dence and charity at the fore­front.