Fundraising Campaign Largest Ever for Illinois Wesleyan

Transforming Lives Raises $141 Million

Oct. 28, 2014

President Richard F. Wilson announced to the University’s Board of Trustees and its campus community on Monday, Oct. 27, that the Transforming Lives fundraising campaign reached $141 million, which was $16 million over its $125 million goal, when the books were closed on July 31. This is the largest and most successful campaign in the history of the University. 

“When we announced this campaign in May 2009, many were concerned because of the economic downturn that had taken place in the nation at the end of 2008,” Wilson remarked. “However, reactions from loyal alumni and friends and two very important leadership commitments convinced us that we should proceed with this historic effort.”

Wilson was referring to a $25 million leadership gift from the campaign’s honorary co-chairs alumni, B. Charles (Chuck) Ames ’50 and Joyce (Jay) Eichhorn Ames ’49.

The Ames gift, which went toward building the endowment and endowed professorships, was the largest gift ever made to the University. Over the course of the campaign, Chuck and Jay Ames made two additional major gifts, one to expand the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art building and the other to support the Promise Scholarship program for students.

The second gift that convinced Wilson to move forward with the campaign came from the State Farm Foundation, which provided major leadership gifts for a new classroom building and student scholarships, both of which were major campaign priorities.    

The Transforming Lives campaign, which took its name from the life changing experiences Illinois Wesleyan students have had over the years, had goals related to increasing the size of the University’s endowment, the number of student scholarships and endowed faculty positions, and the support for annual giving to the Wesleyan Fund. The campaign also included significant additions or improvements to campus buildings and facilities.

In all, 19,231 alumni and friends contributed to the fundraising campaign, including 9,628 first-time donors. Gifts were received for 380 student scholarships, including 231 that were newly established. Twenty new endowed professorships were funded, including 10 from the Ames gift that matched 10 others funded by alumni and friends. In addition, seven major capital projects were funded through campaign gifts: State Farm Hall, The Minor Myers, jr. Welcome Center, the Joslin Atrium, additions to the Shirk Center and to the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art, creation of the North Quadrangle, and a new artificial playing surface at Tucci Stadium. 

“I’d like to thank our Advancement staff, led by Marty Smith, the campaign steering committee and the many volunteers across the country who made this campaign such a huge success,” said Wilson.

The campaign steering committee, which worked with the University’s Advancement staff in the fundraising effort, was co-chaired by Jean Baird, class of 1980, and Steve Wannemacher, a 1973 alumnus. Other members of the steering committee were: Thomas L. Brown ’79, Willie G. Brown, Herbert A. Getz ’77, John S. Horton ’82, Roger S. Joslin, Sundeep V. Mullangi ’97, J. William Roberts, Esq. ’64, Ronald L. Ruecker, M.D. ’66, George A. Vinyard, Esq. ’71 and President Wilson.

Contact: Matt Kurz, (309) 556-3203