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Fundraising campaign reaches milestone mark

Story by Kathryn Kriss

The distinctlyDrake fundraising campaign, in the works since 2008 and in action since 2010, is beginning to wrap up, recently hitting the $160 million mark,  a major milestone.

Despite the economy, several generous donations over $1 million, many from alumni and nearby businesses, have allowed Drake University to remain academically competitive.

The money from the campaign will be split among pre-existing facility renovations, creation of new spaces, more scholarship options for students and increasing faculty resources.

Some of the most prominent spaces to be renovated are Sussman Theater, the Cline Atrium, the Lacy Organic Chemistry labs, the Cowles Library after-hours space, Cartwright Hall and most recently, the basketball practice facility connected to the Knapp Center.

Over 100 new scholarship funds and three new faculty positions were also created.

While most of the original priorities have already been met and are in full use by students, Director of Development Paul Secord cites the School of Education as the next project to tackle.

Plans are in place for a new STEM (science, technology, education and mathematics) building between Olin and Medbury halls.

“This was a process driven by the president and academic provost working with the deans of the colleges to realize that Drake will need to position itself for the future by creating students who go out in the world in science disciplines, but also students who will educate future students,” Secord said.

The new building will house the School of Education, as well as computer science and math classes.

All that’s needed is to secure the funding.

The additional $40 million Drake is working toward by spring of 2015 will provide the resources required, but no aspect of the project will start until all of the finances are secured.

Associate Vice President of Alumni and Development Diane Caldbeck said all of the renovations and building plans are basic priorities and needs for the institution.

“We have important comprehensive needs that couldn’t be met with the current budget, so we came up with a strategic plan,” Caldbeck said of the campaign.

While many other schools hold continuous fundraising efforts, Drake chose to go in waves with direct needs and specific goals to achieve them.

One of the biggest components of the distinctlyDrake wave was the scholarship fund.

Caldbeck hopes the $50 million allocated to making Drake more affordable for students will make the school more attractive to prospective students, increasing the student body diversity and talent pool.

Nick Baker, a sophomore marketing major, has been aware of the campaign through campus marketing, emails and social media and said he hopes it will contribute to more activities and academic possibilities.

“I think students are cognizant of it and hope they want to play a part,” Baker said.

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