Campus News

Bowdoin College Completes New Century Campaign, Raising Over 36 Million

Story posted July 15, 1998


July 27, 1998, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Bowdoin College has completed its five-year, record-setting New Century Campaign with commitments of over $136 million.

The campaign total has far surpassed the original goal of $113.25 million set in 1993 and a revised goal of $125 million, set last fall. (Chart of the campaign goals.) Of the $136 million in commitments, the College has already received more than $121 million. The College has also closed a record setting fundraising year, having raised over $56 million in the last fiscal year alone.

The New Century Campaign was the largest campaign for a Maine college and is believed to be the largest ever private fundraising effort in the state of Maine.

The New Century Campaign, launched in 1993, has doubled Bowdoin's endowment from $185 million in 1993 to approximately $370 million today, has funded significant new campus construction and major renovations, and provided the College with greater financial power and flexibility. Most importantly, the campaign has added substantially to the value of a Bowdoin education, through endowed funds for faculty positions and research, equipment, financial aid and technology.

"This extraordinary effort, the result of the generosity of thousands of alumni, parents, friends and employees, provides Bowdoin students with tremendous opportunity," said Bowdoin President Robert H. Edwards. "The New Century Campaign has added more than $100 million to the value of Bowdoin. The costs of higher education, about which much is rightly written, are not the entire story. Thanks to this campaign, Bowdoin students will henceforth obtain an education underpinned by new and renovated buildings, and by endowments for books, instruments, financial aid, computing power, and faculty positions and research, that are now $100 million stronger - and without any linked increase in tuition. Bowdoin, thanks to this extraordinary generosity, is literally worth more."

Nearly a quarter of Bowdoin's endowment growth comes from new funds added during the campaign. The College's per-student endowment has increased from $129,000 in 1993 to $238,000 per student today, even with an modest increase in the size of the student body from 1,410 in 1994 to 1,550 today. The strength of the endowment has also allowed Bowdoin to borrow $25 million for improvements to student life through expanded residential and dining facilities while also achieving a strong AA bond rating.

During the course of The New Century Campaign, the college's annual budget has increased from $55 million (1993) to $71 million (1998). Bowdoin has been able to fund this budget expansion, and its enhanced academic quality and density, by modestly expanding the size of the College and from the additional returns from a stronger endowment. By the year 2000, Bowdoin's full-time equivalent faculty will number 152, up from 128 in 1993. Financial aid endowment has grown by $29 million during the campaign, nearly reaching its goal of $30 million.

"This campaign was a great achievement for Bowdoin, thanks in no small part to a hard-working group of volunteers and staff, whose efforts will make the College a better place in which to study, teach and learn," said William A. Torrey, Bowdoin's vice president for planning and development who directed the campaign for the College. "We will always have more work to do to ensure that a Bowdoin education is second to none, but for the moment, it is tremendously gratifying to have this support from so many loyal alumni and alumnae, parents, and friends of Bowdoin."

The campaign was intitially chaired from by Frederick G.P. Thorne, of the Class of 1957, chairman of Harbor Capital Management Co. Inc. in Boston. Thorne was named chair of the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees in 1996, at which time he was succeeded as chair of the campaign by Donald M. Zuckert, of the Class of 1956, vice chairman of DraftDirect Worldwide Inc. of New York City and a member of the Bowdoin Board of Trustees.

Among the new facilities added to the Bowdoin campus as a direct result of the New Century Campaign are Druckenmiller Hall, a natural-science building opened last fall that houses the biology, chemistry and geology departments and the environmental studies program; the Coastal Studies Center, a comprehensive science center dedicated last spring that provides saltwater and terrestrial laboratories, a farmhouse and natural habitats for study on 118 acres in Harpswell; and the Watson Fitness Center, a new facility containing state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

The campaign allowed for significant renovations to other campus structures over the past five years: The David Saul Smith Union, a central campus gathering place for students and staff alike built within the former Hyde Cage; Searles Hall, which will house the computer science, mathematics and physics departments when it reopens in the fall of 1999; Memorial Hall/Pickard Theater, which will contain upgraded performance and rehearsal space and an adjacent experimental theater, when it reopens in the winter of 2000; the Bowdoin Chapel, which has had its interior restored and upgraded; and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, which has seen exterior improvements and will soon be enhanced with a new climate control system.

Also established through campaign contributions were the Campus Heritage Fund, a $1.7 million fund providing for ongoing campus maintenance and preservation efforts, and the Baldwin Learning and Teaching Center which will provide counseling in academic skills, training in time management techniques, peer tutoring, study skill development, assistance for students for whom English is not their first language, and study groups for particular classes.

In the course of the last five years, Bowdoin has also recently been able to build two new dormitory buildings, to begin construction on a third dormitory, and to renovate existing houses as part of its new residential life House System. Dining facilities in the Moulton Union have been upgraded, while similar upgrades are planned for Wentworth Hall. All of these improvements were funded through the sale of bonds -- sales made feasible by the strength of Bowdoin's endowment.

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