A campaign to support academics at Heidelberg University is nearly three-fourths completed with four years remaining.
The school's Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence is seeking to raise $50 million - including $25 million in cash and pledges and $25 million in estate gifts - by 2016.
President Robert Huntington said the university never has executed anything like it.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Heidelberg University’s alumni choir performs during a program in Seiberling Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
"It's gained greater clarity," he said.
During an Alumni Weekend lunch in Seiberling Gymnasium Saturday, Huntington announced the campaign stands at nearly $37 million.
"That number is already the largest campaign in the history of Heidelberg. ... Heidelberg University is moving upward. It's moving upward faster, and it's all about ACCE," he said.
ACCE seeks to support areas such as new faculty, faculty research and mentoring programs, campus technology, student scholarships and internships, and facilities, such as a town-gown bookstore.
Over the last two years, the "whisper" stage of the campaign raised $6.8 million, including $3.3 million in cash and pledges and $3.5 million in estate gifts.
"Not bad in a whisper phase," Huntington said.
Huntington said over the last few months, conversations with board of trustees members led to the formation of a "leadership table." Five trustees have committed to donating $28 million - including $10 million in cash and pledges and $18 million in estate gifts - to the campaign, he said.
During Saturday's event, representatives of the class of 1962, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, presented a class gift of more than $2.5 million in cash, pledges and estate gifts. The gift was the largest in Heidelberg history, and more than $2 million was designated to support ACCE.
An anonymous member of the class signed an agreement to leave $1.5 million to Heidelberg to fund an endowed faculty chair.
"We are having fundraising success. ... We're not big, we're not rich, but we're hanging in there," Huntington said, prior to the ACCE
After the lunch, Huntington said officials will spend the money when they get it. They want students to benefit from it as soon as possible, he said.
"We're not hoarding this away," he said.
The campaign stands at 54 percent of its cash and pledges goal, 94 percent of its estate gifts goal and 74 percent of its overall goal.
Jim Troha, vice president for institutional advancement and university relations, said officials will have to evaluate whether the goals of $25 million in cash and pledges and $25 million in estate gifts are the right numbers. They would opt to increase the goal, not decrease it, he said.
"We know we have to reassess," he said.