With Campaign for the Colleges in its final months, and an end date set for May 31, 2012, the Campaign's three major priorities–strengthening the Colleges' endowment, increasing Annual Fund support and addressing facilities needs– continue to receive unprecedented support from the HWS community.
"The momentum we're experiencing is exceptional and record breaking," says President Mark D. Gearan. "We're currently just $11 million from our overall Campaign goal of $200 million. I continue to be thankful for the generosity and commitment of our alums, parents and friends."
During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, gifts to the Annual Fund totaled more than $3 million, the largest annual fund in the Colleges' history. In that same time period, The Wheeler Society, the Colleges' planned giving recognition society, welcomed 35 new members, more than three times the number of commitments made the previous fiscal year.
In total, a record number of donors have supported the Campaign. There have been more than 21,502 individual gifts to the campaign so far, and 31 donors have made gifts of $1 million or more. The vast majority of gifts to the Campaign are under $50,000, and Annual Fund gifts continue to make up the majority of participation in the Campaign.
Since the Campaign was publicly launched in 2006, Eddie '55 and Joanne Froelich have supported all three pillars of Campaign for the Colleges, endowing scholarships, making consistent gifts to the Annual Fund and continuously supporting capital projects. In 2010, the Colleges named the new gatehouse at Boswell Field in honor of their longstanding commitment to HWS.
"The Froelichs have been unyielding supporters of Campaign for the Colleges and its core priorities," says Vice President for Institutional Advancement Bob O'Connor. "At every stage of this Campaign, no matter where our focus has been, the Froelichs have been right there with us."
"I believe you should give back from whence you came," explains Eddie. "Without the philanthropy of others, I wouldn't have had the opportunities I did in the 1950s. I want to help make the HWS experience even better for current and future students."
Recently, the Froelichs have turned their attention to the last remaining capital priority of Campaign for the Colleges, making a commitment to support academic space for the performing arts. "I remember when I was a senior, standing on stage in Coxe Hall," says Eddie. "Even then, it was not a theatre of great capacity. Students should have something that matches their talents, and the Colleges should have a Performing Arts Center that makes this campus shine."
The gift from the Froelichs is earmarked for the 2,000 square-foot choral rehearsal hall, the first dedicated, acoustically-optimum rehearsal space ever built on campus. "We saw the Chorale when they performed in New York," says Joanne. "They're really quite good. We enjoy choral music and are thrilled to be able to turn something we enjoy into something that will benefit the Colleges."
In addition to rehearsal and performance space for the music department, the proposed facility will also include teaching and performance spaces for students interested in theatre, dance and tech as well as faculty offices and common areas for the entire HWS community.
"HWS is a small school that offers a lot. I've always been impressed by that," says Joanne, who graduated from Cornell University. "When it's completed, the Performing Arts Center is just one more opportunity that the Colleges will be able to offer bright, talented students."
One of those talented students is Jamar Green '12, a double major in dance and media and society. "When I injured my Achilles tendon playing football, I got great advice from an unexpected source – NFL wide receiver Randy Moss," Green says. "I read how he used dance to rehab from an injury and how it helped him with balance and body control – very important for an NFL wide receiver. So following his advice, I tried dance. I'm still an athlete, but I feel the arts are as much a part of my life as breathing."
A sociology major with a double minor in women's studies and political science, Kelly Biggs '11 concurs. "During my time at HWS, I tried so many things. I auditioned and was selected for chorale, joined the a cappella group 3 Miles Lost, played club ice hockey, lived in a theme house supporting the William Smith Centennial, spent a semester abroad in Vietnam, and worked in the Deans Office," Biggs explains. "I look back and think, how could I have been this lucky? The new Performing Arts Center will attract a whole new group of talented students who will add so much to the HWS community. I look forward to coming back to campus in the not-too-distantfuture and seeing the curtain go up on the first production held when the Performing Arts Center becomes a reality."
Though fundraising for the ambitious project is ongoing, final plans for the Performing Arts Center are well underway. "The Colleges, in concert with its architecture firm, the Gund Partnership, have begun the design phase of the project, working to finalize construction plans so that we are shovel-ready when fundraising is complete," says O'Connor. "We're confident that HWS community members will continue to make Hobart and William Smith–and the Performing Arts Center–a philanthropic priority."