Capital campaign demystified

By Anna Waugh

Vice President for Advancement Tommy Bonner and President Brian Rosenberg demystified the college’s current $150 million fundraising drive, or capital campaign, to about 50 students Monday night.The open event was held in the library’s Harmon Reading Room, and is part of an effort to improve communication between students and the administration. Blythe Austin ’08, the student liaison to the Board of Trustees, organized the event.

“Campaigns give you an opportunity to focus support to a particular project, to deliver messages, and to take philanthropic support to another level,” Rosenberg said.

Currently, about 40 percent of the college’s budget is funded from donations by alumni, foundations, and parents.

The college seeks to get more alumni involved by keeping them informed, as well as by providing opportunities to bring them back to campus. Besides reunions, the college has begun a new program named Front Row, to invite alumni to talk to majors in the field in which they work. The college has also sought more parent participation by creating a parents’ council last year, which is a group of parent volunteers who seek to improve communication between the college and parents as well as plan events for parents.

Much of the money raised in the campaign will go toward achieving the goals of the Campus Master Plan, a document created in 2005 that shows potential changes to campus over the next 10 years. This includes several new buildings such as the MARC, a new building for the Institute of Global Citizenship, as well as the renovation and expansion of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center.

New buildings will all have the aim of achieving a LEED silver rating, Rosenberg said, which will increase energy efficiency on campus. The Institute’s building, which will be located at the current site of Winton Health Services, will achieve a LEED platinum rating. This will perhaps be the first building in Minnesota to attain this distinction, Rosenberg said, and is being funded in large part by a donation from Mark Leonard ’65 and Candy Leonard ’67.

The capital campaign also aims to provide more support for need-based financial aid, endowed professorships and popular student programs, including study abroad and the Lilly Project. Finally, a small portion will go toward operating funds and initiatives, which means that it will be spent where it is most needed by the college.

As of Nov. 19, the campaign had collected approximately $70.5 million, $4.5 million shy of the campaign’s halfway mark. Trustee Jerry Crawford ’71, also a Midwest co-chair of Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is playing a lead role in Macalester’s capital campaign.

Monday’s presentation ended in tension after Ed Fitzpatrick ’09, a student in attendance, questioned Rosenberg over the wording of a section of the President’s “Strategic Imperatives” document that outlined Rosenberg’s vision for Macalester from 2005 to 2015. The document preceded the start of capital campaign fundraising.

Fitzpatrick cited a passage in the document in which Rosenberg alluded to Macalester’s “reputation for a certain degree of fractiousness and for creating an environment in which individual interests and identities too often take precedence over the well-being of the college.”

The passage implied a desire on the part of Rosenberg to build an environment of students with “manufactured” viewpoints and in which “fringe” views were eliminated, Fitzpatrick said.

Rosenberg disagreed with the claim, saying Fitzpatrick misinterpreted the phrase.

Clarification: A figure referenced above states that “40 percent of the college’s budget is funded from donations by alumni, foundations, and parents.” More precisely, six percent of Macalester’s budget is funded through gifts from alumni, foundations and parents and 34 percent is funded from returns on the college’s endowment. The endowment’s principal largely originated from gifts from alumni, foundations and parents.