Colby-Sawyer College raised a record $10.6 million in fiscal year 2019, marking the successful conclusion of its Power of Infinity Campaign — a multiyear comprehensive fundraising effort. Money raised helps fund a number of key initiatives on campus, and brings the college’s total endowment to more than $39 million.
The $10.6 million raised, the highest single-year total in the college’s 182-year history, represents a 127% increase from last year’s fundraising total, and includes the largest bequest ever received by Colby-Sawyer — a $2.5 million gift from former trustee Janice Wilkins ’41. The college also saw a 20% increase in overall donors, as well as a 45% increase in alumni donors who graduated within the last 25 years.
“Our donors’ investments in the college play a crucial role in our ability to deliver a high quality educational experience for our students,” Colby-Sawyer President Sue Stuebner said. “I am incredibly grateful and appreciative of the investments others have made in the college and in our students’ futures. Our donors give to Colby-Sawyer because they can see that their gifts make a significant difference in the lives of our students.”
Colby-Sawyer surpassed its goal of adding 15 new endowed scholarships, securing 27 new scholarships through pledges, gifts and matching dollars totaling more than $1.2 million. This generosity brings the college’s endowed scholarship fund to nearly $22 million in total, which is money directly used to help make tuition more affordable for both prospective and current students.
The college also secured more than $1 million in Colby-Sawyer Fund pledges and gifts to help maintain expenses and respond to future opportunities to benefit the campus community. Additionally, Colby-Sawyer held its first-ever Day of Giving in April — a 24-hour fundraising campaign that far exceeded its goal of 300 gifts — raising more than $160,000 through donations from 837 alumni, students, parents, community members and beyond.
“Colby-Sawyer relies on the generosity of alumni, parents and friends to help prepare students to succeed and make a difference upon graduation,” said Daniel Parish, vice president for college advancement. “Gifts to the college directly benefit students by supporting scholarships and financial aid, incredible hands-on learning opportunities in New London and around the world, and experiences outside of the classroom that make our campus community so unique.”
William and Sonja Carlson Davidow ’56 donated $2 million to the college last year to fully fund the Sonja C. Davidow ’56 Endowed Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts, one of three fully endowed faculty positions at the college. Another gift of more than $1 million came from the Pussycat Foundation in conjunction with the college being chosen as the sixth member in the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network. The network supports colleges led by women presidents that have demonstrated a commitment to collaboration, innovation, diversity and inclusion. Money from the $1.2 million grant helps fund scholarships for the college’s BOLD members, as well as transformational campus projects.
The college received several additional substantial gifts over the course of the year, including a $500,000 pledge from Heidi Grey Niblack ’68 and her husband, John, to establish an endowment to support student internships and engaged learning opportunities. Likewise, donations totaling more than $300,000 from trustee Wendy Carey, her husband, Chase, and an anonymous donor helped fund an expansive renovation of the Elizabeth Kind Van Cise Fitness Center located within the Dan and Kathleen Hogan Sports Center. The college’s trustees also contributed more than $1.1 million in gifts, many of which supported improvements to campus facilities. “The unprecedented level of support for Colby-Sawyer during the past year is a strong endorsement of the college’s commitment to engaged learning and to anchoring strong preparation for a career in the liberal arts,” Parish said.