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ISSUE 120 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 4/27/2007

Givers donate funds

By Emily Koester
News Editor

Friday, April 27, 2007

On April 12, faculty and students gathered in Buntrock Commons to celebrate the success of the latest Advancement Office drive, “Beyond Imagination.” Since February, the Advancement Office has directed a campaign to collect personal donations from faculty, staff, emeriti and retired faculty to raise enough money for the new Science Complex. Though the campaign’s goal was $600,000, donations from these community members totaled almost $800,000.

To commemorate the occasion, a chapel service was held in honor of the campaign and the donating community members. After the chapel service, faculty, staff and students together gathered to enjoy refreshments while listening to speakers. This is not the first time that the Advancement Office, which raised funds for Buntrock Commons six years ago when it was built, has requested the faculty donations for the new Science Complex. Last fall, the Advancement Office launched a miniature campaign solely for members of the math and science center. According to Rebecca Otten, who has worked as the principal gifts officer for the Advancement Office for the past 10 years, about 83 percent of the math and science faculty made donations for the new center. “"It’s meaningful that the community is willing to give back,"” Otten said.

When the Advancement Office opened up the campaign to all of the faculty, retired faculty, emeriti and staff, however, they took the initiative to show how the Science Complex served the community at large. “

"President Anderson made the primary action by sending out a letter to staff,”" Otten said. “Volunteers from faculty and staff sent out follow-up e-mails.”

Jenny Howenstine, associate director of admissions, was one such volunteer who, though not in the science department, felt compelled to give. Howenstine, a St. Olaf alumna, believes that the new Science Complex will enhance the quality of the entire campus. “"We need to think of the College as a whole and make sure they [students] have the best experience they have when they’re here,"” she said.

Howenstine also believes the new Science Complex rings true with St. Olaf’s ideals of sustainability. “"The science centers’ LEED certification is a huge commitment by St. Olaf, and it holds with our mission statement,”" she said.

Professor of Psychology Chuck Huff believes that the new science complex makes a better space for all campus departments to work together. “"We need a building to make interdisciplinary work easier,”" he said. Huff hopes that the science complex will be “an open invitation to all departments.”

In addition to believing in its positive community impact, many faculty agree that donations from within the St. Olaf community help to encourage donors from outside St. Olaf. Professor of Philosophy Edward Langerak stated that “The reality of societies means that we have to convince bigger donors that we are enthusiastic about the project.”

Professor of Biology David Wylen, who is also a member of the science center design team, agrees that “to encourage outside donors, it helps when you can demonstrate internal support.”

Though individual faculty donations may be small, and according to Langerak “the most generous donors are emeriti,” those working for the Advancement Office encourage donations of any size. “"We make it clear that no gifts are too small, and they eventually add up to something,”" Wylen said.

Langerak noted that it helps to have a general sense of generosity in the St. Olaf community. “"There is a general stewardship responsibility feeling among faculty,”" he said.

Howenstine noted, however, that many faculty have not yet donated, particularly those in departments outside of the math and sciences. Even after the official campaign is over, the Advancement Office will continue to fundraise both inside and outside of the St. Olaf community. "“It'’s never too late to give,"” Howenstine said.

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