Bates Campaign passes $218 million in second public year

With gifts of over $28 million, more than 11,000 generous alumni, parents, and friends helped the college pass the $218 million mark in the second public year of the Bates Campaign. Co-chaired by Michael W. Bonney ’80, Geraldine M. FitzGerald ’75, and John D. Gillespie ’80, the multiyear campaign is the largest fundraising effort in Bates history, with a comprehensive goal of $300 million.

Significant progress has been made in each of the campaign’s four priorities:

  • $80 million toward a goal of $100 million for Driving Academic Excellence
  • $43 million toward a goal of $75 million for Investing in Opportunity, which is primarily financial aid support
  • $19 million toward a goal of $65 million for Catalyzing Student Success
  • $53 million toward a goal of $60 million for Building Financial Sustainability, including all gifts to the Bates Fund

The 2018-19 academic year was especially exciting for the STEM disciplines. In May, Bates broke ground on the Bonney Science Center, a new state-of-the-art STEM facility made possible by a gift from the family foundation of Alison Grott Bonney ’80 and Michael Bonney ’80. And in June, Helen Lindenmeier Blake ’54 and S. Prestley Blake further supported the new building with a gift of $1 million.

This year, two Bates faculty members were named to newly endowed professorships in the sciences. Professor of Biology April Hill was named the inaugural Wagener Family Professor of Equity and Inclusion in STEM, funded by a $3 million gift from Deborah Heitz P’17 and Shaw Wagener P’17. Designed with the input of alumna Sophie Wagener ’17, this professorship is focused on addressing inequities and supporting student success in Bates’ STEM programs. Professor Nancy S. Koven, Chair of the Neuroscience Program, was named the inaugural John E. Kelsey Professor of Neuroscience. Endowed by Michael J. Bonney ’80 and Alison Grott Bonney ’80, this professorship honors Professor Emeritus of Psychology John Kelsey and his 37 years on the Bates faculty.

In support of Financial Aid, alumni and parents matched a $5 million Financial Aid Challenge by generous anonymous donors, establishing 60 new endowed funds. The challenge provided a dollar-for-dollar match to all new pledges between $50,000 and $250,000. Following this success, a second matching challenge of $5 million was offered in June 2019, to encourage additional financial aid gifts through June 2021.

In addition to supporting Bates’ academic programs and financial aid, alumni and parents made gifts totalling more than $350,000 to fund Purposeful Work internships across the globe. And the Bobcat athletics community showed their team spirit—and their competitive edge—in the first-ever Friends of Bates Athletics Challenge, raising $189,127 in support of varsity athletics. Kicking off with a $10,000 challenge gift from Dick Coughlin ’53 and Norma Crooks Coughlin ’52, the challenge drew 1,333 donors.

“It’s exciting to be on campus during a time of such momentum and growth,” said Sarah R. Pearson ’75, vice president for college advancement. “I am deeply grateful for the dedication and generosity of the alumni, parents, and friends who make this progress possible.”

View the 2019 Report of Giving