One year into the behind-the-scenes phase of the capital campaign, Bowdoin is gauging interest from its biggest potential donors to determine if its goal of $250 million is too high?or not high enough.
According to President Barry Mills, the College will likely be ready to publicly kick-start the campaign next fall. The initial plan for the fund drive was approved by the Board of Trustees last October.
Senior Vice President for Planning and Administration Bill Torrey said that the campaign team has already had discussions with 60 percent of board members and about half of other large donors.
"We're exactly where we want to be," he said.
Assessing the campaign's progress to date, Mills said in an interview with the Orient, "We're at a stage where we've established our priorities for what we want to realize."
Those priorities include approximately $175 million for the College's endowment, $25 million for various building projects, and about $50 million for annual budgetary expenses.
The centerpiece of the campaign is $75 million to strengthen the financial aid portion of the endowment.
Citing the increasing difficultly lower- and middle-class families have in sending children to college, Mills said that ensuring that financial aid expenses are endowed is necessary to "create opportunities for next generation of students and scholars."
Another $75 million of the to-be-raised endowment funds will be targeted towards the academic program, which will allow the College to hire 12 additional faculty members. The remaining $25 million is to support student programs such as career planning and community service.
Building projects to be funded by the capital campaign include the construction of a recital hall, a new hockey rink, and renovations to the Walker Art Building.
Mills acknowledged that he has been spending significantly less time on campus recently in order to travel on campaign-related business.
He said that despite spending about half of his time on the campaign, he is still "very involved in the life of the College, but nothing is more important than solidifying the endowment."
Mills cited "the talent of students, the excellence and dedication of faculty, and the quality of staff" as important factors that help him convince people to support to the College.
"What is important is to explain to people the Bowdoin of today and explain why I believe this place deserves their support," he said. "It is a simple fact that in the end places can't maintain excellence or move to the next level without financial support."
Torrey echoed Mills's comments, saying that Bowdoin's strength helps in raising money.
"People give to success stories," he said.
Torrey said he tells donors, "Don't give until it hurts. Give until it feels good."