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Executive Summary of Gifts

John BogleyBy John Bogley '85
Vice President for Development and College Relations

Each year income from permanent endowment provides a significant foundation for the College’s budget; Annual Giving affords flexibility and essential support for key programs; and directed giving helps keep Whitman on the cutting edge of liberal arts and sciences education. For fiscal year 2013-14, this support totaled an impressive $13.9 million (see the charts below for detail). Thanks to each of you who supported the College and its students this past year.

Gifts from alumni, parents, and friends – past, present, and future – are an essential and influential component of providing a quality education. Tuition and fees cover roughly 68% of the cost of educating each student, with the remainder generated by income from endowment funded over time and new gifts within the fiscal year. The greater our collective commitment to building the endowment and supporting the Annual Fund, the more we can do to support students – everything from increasing the College’s financial aid offers for prospective students to expanding assistance for graduates as they seek to further their educations and begin their careers. As President George Bridges often says, “Together, our leadership today will write Whitman’s history for years to come.”

The Now Is the Time Campaign was launched specifically to enable the College to better prepare Whitman graduates to become leaders in the 21st Century. Led by Campaign Chair John Stanton ’77, governing boards, faculty, staff, and students identified areas of investment that would add depth and breadth to the academic program, improve access through gifts to scholarships, and increase support through the Annual Giving program. Gifts to the Campaign are already sustaining and advancing the excellence that has defined Whitman for generations. Our progress on the goals of the Campaign as of September 30 is detailed inside the back cover of this Magazine. Gifts during the 2013-14 fiscal year helped put us in an outstanding position to reach our $150 million goal over the course of the Campaign’s final year, which officially ends on June 30, 2015.

Placing computer science within the liberal arts

Strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills, the ability to draw connections among diverse disciplines, and a broad foundation of knowledge are fundamental to a liberal arts and sciences education. When complemented with substantive course work in computer science, our graduates will be better able to succeed in an increasingly technological world. Thanks to generous anonymous gifts enabling the creation of three tenure track positions, Whitman is expanding its curriculum in computer science.

This summer, Microsoft Corporation made a generous gift to support the initiative. To honor the gift from Microsoft, our anonymous donors asked that the College name the endowment supporting one of these positions the Microsoft Chair of Computer Science. Our expanded program will provide all students an opportunity to improve their computer literacy skills and gain the technological expertise needed to help them lead in any field they choose.

Internship experiences

The College also made significant progress in helping our students connect their studies to interests beyond Whitman this fiscal year. Parents, in particular, continue to further this objective through their generous support for the Career and Community Engagement Center, and two new funds – the Alexander von Humboldt Internship Fund and the Sherwood Trust Internship Endowment – are enabling experiences in the for-profit and local non-profit sectors. The Alexander von Humboldt Fund will provide significant funding for U.S.-based and international internships over the next few years, and the Sherwood Trust Internship Endowment establishes permanent funding for Whitman College students to work with local non-profit organizations in the Walla Walla area.

The number of paid internships that the College is able to offer its students has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2011, we offered students just 30 internship grant opportunities. This past year, with the help of gifts, Whitman funded 160 paid internships for students working at businesses and non-profits nationally and internationally. In the near future, we hope to fund every worthy student proposal, and your support is bringing us ever nearer to that goal.

Whitman Endowment reaches half a billion

Under the direction of CFO and Treasurer Peter Harvey ’84 and the Investment Committee chaired by Trustee David Nierenberg, Whitman’s endowment experienced a 14.5% gain during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. These impressive returns, along with new gifts to endowment, resulted in the overall endowment surpassing the half-a-billion mark – $504,524,087 to be exact – for the first time in the history of the College. Progress in our efforts to endow Whitman’s future is heartening to each of us who care deeply about the College and its students. Nevertheless, our endowment per student remains in the middle of the pack among the colleges with which we compare ourselves and compete for students and faculty. Growth of our endowment is the most reliable way to permanently strengthen our financial base and build a brighter future for the College. A list of our named endowments and their June 30, 2014, values appear on pages 68-71.

Scholarship support ensures access

This year, the Whitman community’s commitment to scholarship aid stood out. From October to May, faculty, students, staff, and coaches went on the road to six locations across the country to give our alumni, parents, and friends in those areas a “Taste of Whitman” today. Presenters spoke of the joy of working with students in their academic and co-curricular pursuits and the challenges that many of our students face with access to a Whitman education. Trustee Nancy Serrurier and Overseer Greg Serrurier provided help to our supporters in meeting this ever-growing need. They offered a match of gifts to scholarship and student aid that were made in conjunction with the “Taste of Whitman” events and matched the gifts of several alumni who created new scholarship endowments. An anonymous alumni couple also offered a match of gifts to the First Opportunity Scholarship Endowment this past fiscal year. The First Opportunity Scholarship Endowment contributes to socioeconomic diversity at Whitman by helping students who are the first in their families to attend college. The “Taste of Whitman” events and these generous matches resulted in additions of more than $500,000 to scholarship and scholarship endowment.

In addition to these individual gifts to scholarship, each of our milestone reunion classes chose scholarship as the focus of their reunion fund gifts. The Classes of 1964, 1974, 1989, and 2004 gave to increase the 10th, 25th, 40th, and 50th Reunion Scholarship Endowments respectively. Collectively, their gifts to scholarship and other areas totaled more than $1.17 million. The reunion classes pay it forward to future generations and help ensure that today’s and tomorrow’s students will have access to a high quality Whitman education – as they did in decades past.

This fiscal year, an impressive 13 new scholarship endowments were established (new endowments are listed on page 27). Donors to these funds were inspired by their Whitman experience and by Whitman students – present and future. They gave to honor professors and mentors, to create a family legacy, to help those with significant financial need, to encourage international study, and to celebrate the difference a Whitman education can make in a life. Read more about these terrific new funds throughout this report.

Thank you!

On behalf of all of us at Whitman, thank you to each one of you who provided support for Whitman and its students during the 2013-14 fiscal year. Your gifts make a difference in the lives of students – many of whom might not otherwise be able to afford a Whitman education – and help us continue to build on the excellence that has long been the hallmark of a Whitman education.

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