The Drake love story is different for each student and alumni. Those stories so far add up to over $100 million dollars.
The “distinctlyDrake” campaign was enacted to support the university’s vision to be recognized outwardly as one of the best higher education institutions in the U.S. The monetary goal has the chance for substantial impact at $200 million dollars.
John Smith, the vice president for alumni and development, said measurable success is found in more than dollar amounts.
“While this campaign has a working goal of $200 million, the real measure will be seen in tangible progress toward our vision,” Smith said.
Tangible results so far mean big additions like the $1.5 million dollar Patty and Fred Turner Jazz Center.
The campaign has highlighted “investment in our buildings, facilities and technology” as one of the main priorities.
Such capital projects include a new School of Education building, two new science buildings and renovations on the three current science and education buildings. Cowles Library will receive renovated technology and additional spaces, while Cartwright Hall will also receive expansion and renovation.
The Drake Fieldhouse will receive huge improvements with a new leadership lab, classrooms and updated overall facilities.
Within the new buildings, the campaign intends to endow 26 new faculty positions including distinguished professorships and chairs.
University improvements over prior years have led to national accolades. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Drake as the No. 3 university in the Midwest.
The campaign is not without challenges. One of the biggest challenges currently comes from the economic recession. Smith said that the campaign strategies and expectations had to be reevaluated.
“Clearly, the greatest challenge of this campaign is conducting it during one the most difficult economic environments this country has ever seen,” Smith said.
University President David Maxwell has played a key role in raising funds and outwardly supporting the campaign.
“To have reached the halfway mark at $100 million in the midst of a global financial crisis is a great accomplishment,” Maxwell said. “And it’s a powerful testimony to the generosity, commitment and belief in Drake’s present and future on the part of the thousands of people who have participated thus far.”
Maxwell has represented Drake at events in Des Moines, Naples, Fla., Phoenix, Chicago, Denver and the Twin Cities. In upcoming weeks, the campaign will hit the road to Washington D.C., Atlanta, St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.
“I am very, very pleased by the success of the ‘distinctlyDrake’ campaign to date,” Maxwell said.
Close to 70 percent of that generosity from alumni and Drake affiliates has come in the form of cash or other sorts of short-term donations. There has also been record support of The Drake Fund. This fund supports the university’s operating budget, meaning faculty and staff retention, student financial assistance and professional opportunity support.
“We have been pleased with the passionate response from our alumni as they reflect on the impact of their Drake experience,” Smith said.
Smith said he sees the creation of a philanthropic culture as one of the best observable outcomes for the campaign.
“This change in culture will result in a deeper connection with Drake, a stronger sense of engagement and a growing desire to ensure Drake’s ability to keep real our promise to current and future generations of students,” Smith said.