Fredonia College Foundation comprehensive campaign goal smashed

Roger Coda
photo of campaign banners at college entrance

“What an incredible journey this has been!”

That’s the exclamation point Interim Vice President for University Advancement and Fredonia College Foundation Executive Director Betty Gossett places on “Nurturing Innovation: The Campaign for Fredonia.”

The fund drive for the State University of New York at Fredonia was an unparalleled success, raising over $24.5 million – exceeding its goal by more than 20 percent.

“When we launched, we knew this would be our most ambitious, comprehensive campaign in Fredonia’s history. We experienced an amazing outpouring of support throughout the campaign,” Ms. Gossett reflected. She attributes its outcome to the dedication of alumni, friends of the university, local businesses and organizations and an enthusiastic and committed team, all who want to see SUNY Fredonia and its students thrive.

Campaign co-chairs Dennis Costello and Joseph Falcone described the $20 million goal as quite ambitious, “and it was not clear that we could make it,” Mr. Costello, ’72, recalled. “We were quite pleased that we not only met the goal, but exceeded it.”

This was the university’s fourth capital campaign, and clearly its most fruitful.

The first, “Extending Our Horizons: The Campaign for Fredonia,” raised just over $5.5 million in 1995. “Traditions and Transitions: The Anniversary Campaign” netted more than $10.6 million in 2004, while “Doors to Success” achieved $16.7 million in 2011. Each time, campaign goals were surpassed but never more than this one.

campaign logoWhen the Nurturing Innovation books were closed on Dec. 31, gifts had soared to $24,520,307.

“Several donors and their impact became newsworthy but it was those combined with the thousands of more modest donations cumulatively that made the difference and made the campaign so successful,” Gossett said.

The campaign’s conclusion comes at a critical time for Fredonia. State support has been stagnant while operational costs climb due to unfunded mandates. This results in more college costs being shifted to families.

The number of endowed funds grew by 132, or 31.5 percent, during the campaign. The increased giving to the endowment combined with strong investment returns enabled the foundation to double its annual endowment spending distribution.

“Students were the main beneficiaries of donors’ generosity,” Mr. Falcone explained, largely through scholarships and academic support that comprise Access to Quality Education, one of five campaign priorities. Its $10 million goal was exceeded by nearly $350,000.

The campaign realized just over $5.8 million, comfortably above its $4 million goal, for the Learning from Experience priority to support faculty-student research collaborations, service learning, internships and entrepreneurial activities.

Learning Spaces represents a strategic investment to ensure Fredonia graduates are exposed to and trained on routine and emerging technologies and spaces that accommodate current instruction methods. This campaign goal clearly resonated with donors, who gave just over $4.6 million – more than double the $2 million goal.

The Exceptional Faculty priority recognizing that investments in faculty are essential netted nearly $1.5 million toward its $2 million goal. A number of endowments were established to support faculty in all disciplines who mentor students beyond the traditional classroom, offering research fellowships, stipends and support for creative and experiential opportunities, Gossett said.

Donors supporting the Unrestricted Gifts category provide flexibility so funds can be quickly directed to achieve a strategic goal, support an emerging initiative or address a significant or unanticipated need. Donors exceeded the $2 million goal by over $200,000.

President Stephen K. Kolison Jr., who joined Fredonia in the last five months of the campaign, described its success as “exciting beyond expression.” Resources obtained through the campaign will help the university achieve goals in the areas of quality education accessibility and enhancing or strengthening learning spaces, experiential learning and faculty scholarship, President Kolison said.

“Fredonia has benefited from loyal volunteers, past and present staff and the campus community. The time, energy and resources they have provided has been heartwarming and the impact will be far reaching,” Gossett said.

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