Two weeks of excitement and activity for the public launch of Kenyon’s Our Path Forward campaign produced $15 million more for the College’s future.
In October the Hill hummed with alumni, students and family members. The community dedicated a new English seminar building and new baseball infield. Students showcased their summer research and their dance. Generations shared campaign cookies at a block party and stories of scholarship at a glowing dinner in Thomas Hall.
The Kenyon community has now pledged or given more than two-thirds of the campaign’s $300 million fundraising goal.
“I enjoyed going to the block party and seeing all the great construction that’s happening around the campus,” said Jamion Berry ’97. “I know that our dollars matter in terms of making us an institution that matches what we’re trying to attract as well as what we’re trying to afford. I think Kenyon is in a great place and moving forward. But there is so much more to come.”
The largest gift committed during the two weekends of celebration came from an anonymous bequest promised to Kenyon. This gift will provide $5 million more for endowed scholarships and $5 million more for the College’s general endowment.
Endowed funds are permanently invested and reduce the College’s need to balance its budget by increasing tuition. To this point the Our Path Forward campaign has raised gifts and commitments that will add more than $82.7 million to Kenyon’s endowment.
Kenyon’s endowment was $10.8 million in 1981, crossed the $100 million mark in 1999 and reached $416 million by the end of June 2018 through a combination of donor generosity and careful stewardship.
“We’ve had a long period of good market returns on our endowment,” said Doug Wang ’78, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. “The challenge isn’t where it’s been but where it’s going. The demands we have on our endowment are very high.”
Our Path Forward seeks to add a total of $150 million to Kenyon’s permanent endowment funding, among its priorities to raise funds for scholarship, experiential learning and the creation of teaching and learning spaces suited for the 21st century. The campaign also aims to receive philanthropic donations from 70 percent of Kenyon’s alumni and to increase alumni engagement with the College by 10 percent as measured through volunteering, event attendance and philanthropy.
Terry West ’97 is engaged by serving on the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee and returning to campus to mentor students of color.
“I’m definitely excited to continue to see the caliber of student we are bringing in. And I am really excited to hear about the part of the campaign that is going to continue to support students who come from a different socio-economic background,” West said. “I was one of those students who needed some assistance to come to Kenyon. I am excited to see that the College is putting dollars into making sure that students like me can come here and flourish.”
Before Our Path Forward began three years ago, only about 12 percent of Kenyon’s financial aid spending was supported by permanently invested funds. The campaign has now raised almost $46 million in newly endowed scholarship funding.
Kevin Pan ’15 was also happy to hear about the scholarship goals of the campaign and to make new Kenyon connections during the gala weekend.
“It’s hard to describe in a nutshell, but Kenyon is very special in that you can create those very, very close relationships with professors, with peers and with people you just met this weekend,” he said.
Tom Sant ’65 H’13 spent almost three decades as a Kenyon trustee and returned for the public launch of the campaign.
“It still reminds me of the days when I was here. Essentially, it’s the same layout, with greater buildings, a much larger faculty and much more diversity. I’m very pleased with the way the College is today,” Sant said. “I was very pleased to see a number of people I hadn’t seen in years — friends that I served on the Board of Trustees with, plus I always enjoy seeing faculty and staff that I’ve known for years. It’s just a pleasure to be here.”