College in ‘silent’ fundraising phase

Wartburg will begin a new campaign to begin fundraising for more scholarships, improved facilities and technology and improving program support, pending approval from the Board of Regents. President Darrel Colson said he thinks increasing scholarships is one of the more important elements to the campaign.

“I look around and I see a lot of needs and a lot of ways we can enhance the educational experience,” Colson said. “Scholarships can help in so many different ways. It’s money that helps students come here but it also helps pay’s for programming. Scholarships really can solve a lot of problems.”

Vice President of Institutional Advancement Scott Leisinger said a college goes through a silent phase of fundraising where they take a proposed campaign to donors and find out what specific projects resonate with them.

“They try to secure what are called leadership gifts or pace setting gifts,” Leisinger said. “Based in part on the response of those early gifts, the ultimate shape of the campaign may change slightly.”

Leisinger said the public phase of fundraising follows the silent phase because the college knows what is important to donors and also has a base of financial support.

“That way when you go to the rest of the constituents who maybe aren’t as close to the college, you can demonstrate a real sense of momentum,” Leisinger said.

Apart from scholarships, the campaign could support infrastructure projects suggested by Performa Higher Education’s survey results released in October of last year. The survey looked for ways to better utilize space on campus. Some of the suggested changes included renovating Clinton Hall and Centennial Complex, enhancing the Pathway’s center by placing it on the second floor of the library and building a welcome center at the south end of campus.

Colson said the renovations to Clinton and the Complex will go beyond simply remodeling the dorms. “What we’re talking about is reshaping the halls so that they are not just comfortable living, but the whole educational program,” Colson said. “It’s not just replacing older equipment and furniture, it’s reconfiguring the halls.”

Colson said they would like Clinton and the Complex to resemble what Grossmann and LÖhe Halls have where there is not only living space, but academic offices, classrooms and study areas for students. The campaign cannot be declared until it has been approved by the Board of Regents, which Leisinger and Colson said should happen during their meeting at the end of May. Colson said just because the campaign isn’t official yet doesn’t mean the college isn’t always accumulating funds.

“We are always raising funds for the college,” Colson said. “A campaign kind of focuses things. The fact there’s a deadline kind of elevates the energy, the expectation and hopefully the intensity of people’s attention.”


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