One of the priorities in Drake University’s new $225 million fundraising campaign is University for All: Creating Access to Opportunity. This initiative focuses on appealing to students in all stages of life.
“The Ones campaign invests in initiatives that provide life-changing opportunities to people with a diversity of experiences across the full spectrum of their lives,” the Office of University Advancement wrote in a booklet about the campaign. “By meeting the needs of more individuals, University for All will spark growth to strengthen the institution.”
Kathleen Richardson is the dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and one of the champions of this initiative. She took part in the initial brainstorming process for The Ones back in 2018.
“My belief that I came to the table with is that our mission as an institution is to give people the tools through education to build their best lives and their best communities,” Richardson said. “We should figure out a way to meet people’s needs and give them the tools to build their best lives from children all the way to retirees … University for All is kind of a philosophical umbrella under which these various initiatives live.”
University for All’s concrete goal is continued support for existing Drake programs that align with this philosophy of education for everyone. These programs include The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club, Crew Scholars, John Dee Bright College and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Drake, according to the campaign’s case statement.
Creating a more intergenerational campus, as Richardson puts it, is important for Drake’s continued survival since the U.S. population is getting older on average.
“To me, this is essential for ensuring that Drake remains relevant and sustainable long-term. It’s the same motivation that has inspired the School of Journalism, over the last few years, to start offering online classes,” Richardson said. “The demographic that Drake traditionally appeals to and has built its institutional culture and financial model around is shrinking. Drake needs to rethink. Instead of fighting with all the other colleges for every breathing 18-year-old out there, we really need to stick our head up above the trees and think. We have a whole campus full of smart, engaged people who do a very good job at educating people. We should think a little bit more broadly about who we can offer this to.”