Campaign seeks $100 million

On Feb. 20, St. Edward’s University revealed their most ambitious fundraising campaign to date, “The Campaign for St. Edward’s University: Opening Doors to Their World.”

The goal is to raise $100 million by 2017.

The university’s previous record-setting campaign, in 2007, raised $65 million in three years. This time around, the campaign’s goals are even higher. One reason for this is the upswing in the national economy as the country is out of the lowest part of the recession. Plus, the university has already raised nearly three-fourths of their $100 million goal.

Along with the public announcement for the campaign last Thursday, University President George Martin and Vice President for University Advancement revealed that since that the last campaign ended in 2007, they have quietly raised $71.6 million.

With campaigns as ambitious as this, “You have to test the amount you hope to raise,” Michael Larkin said to explain why they waited to announce their goals.

The $71.6 million raised so far has contributed to major on-campus projects and renovations including the John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center, the renovated Alumni Gym, Chapel and the Munday Library.

Pat and Bill Munday’s donations of nearly $34 million ($13 million for the library and $20 million in scholarship) make up almost half the amount raised. 

“Not one dollar has been wasted,” said Bill Munday, whose gift of the library was a surprise present for his wife, Pat. 

While campus improvements were a large and obvious part of recent campaigns, scholarships and other funding for students and faculty is the primary focus, Larkin said.

“As a Holy Cross institution, success is about learning who you are, who you can be, and who you ought to be,” Larkin said. He believes that these advancement efforts have hinged on providing “access, excellence and success” for St. Edward’s students.

The remaining $30 million to be raised will be funneled towards endowment scholarships and other programs on campus to support student and faculty.

The University announced the public phase of the “Campaign for St. Edward’s University” in the midst of Homecoming Week as families, alumni and faculty gathered on the Hilltop to celebrate the school, its traditions and its history.

With this new campaign and the previous “A Special Destiny” campaign, Larkin and Martin have raised more than $144 million for St. Edward’s since 1999 when Martin joined the school as president. In the last 15 years, the school’s endowment has tripled. 

In 2004, St. Edward’s “A Special Destiny” campaign was jumpstarted by a $7.5 million dollar gift from Houston businessman John Brooks Williams. Nine years later, the two buildings of the John Brooks Williams Natural Science Center stand near the heart of campus and are open to all students. 

This time around, the public fundraising opened with the news of a $1.1 million gift from Luci Baines Johnson ‘97 and Ian Turpin. The new Johnson-Turpin CAMP Enrichment Endowment Fund is designed to provide further college advancement opportunities for CAMP students.

Johnson graduated from the New College program in 1997 with a degree in Communications. She first found and fell in love with St. Edward’s through its CAMP program.

Among the six campuses funding the children of migrant workers within the College Assistance Migrant Programs in Texas, St. Edward’s is the oldest. Started in 1972, the program followed on the heels of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” legislation of the 1960s. 

“It only made sense to give back to the program I got my own education from and that was so much like my father’s efforts for a more socially just society,” Johnson said. 

Among the opportunities provided to 10-12 CAMP students each year will be career and internship support, financial literacy education, research opportunities and study abroad assistance.

Her father, President Lyndon B. Johnson had to drop out for a year during his college years because of money. He spent the year teaching the children of poor migrants in a town outside of San Antonio called Cotulla. 

“Daddy believed these young people had all the potential to achieve great things if only given a chance,” Baines Johnson said in a statement about how important making access to education has been to her and her father’s commitment to social justice.

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