Thanks to generous donations from University parents and alumni, the University raised a record-breaking $37.74 million in 2011, an increase of $3.62 million from the $34.12 million raised in 2010. According to Vice President for University Relations Barbara-Jan Wilson, nearly half of the funds raised went to the endowment to support financial aid.
“We also had significant gifts to support the Allbritton Center, the new Patricelli Center and the Freeman Scholars Program,” Wilson wrote in an email to The Argus.
According to President Michael Roth, the University plans to use this increased revenue to invest more money into the endowment than in years past.
“Over time, that’s going to make a real difference in building a stronger economic foundation for Wesleyan,” he said.
Wilson said that the money put into the endowment will primarily go towards supporting financial aid.
“$17.2 [million] was put into the endowment to support financial aid and the academic program and $10.2 [million] went to the Wesleyan Fund which supports current operations and financial aid,” she wrote.
Roth said that the University is committed to spending the funds responsibly.
“We have really encouraged people to be very careful about the money they spend, especially in discretionary areas outside of the academic core,” Roth said. “We hope that over time this will reduce the need for tuition increases.”
Roth hopes that by investing cautiously in new programs, such as the recently launched Summer Session, the University’s financial situation will continue to improve.
He noted that the especially large class of 2015 has also helped the school’s finances.
“There’s additional revenue dollars, even after you [account] for financial aid and the associated expenses with having more students,” he explained.
In 2009, when the U.S. economy was at its lowest point in decades, funds raised at the University were at the lowest they had been in recent years, with only $32.49 million raised.
“The economy is so fragile, and people have such fragile confidence in the economic future, that it makes it difficult to raise money,” Roth said. “Our endowment-to-student ratio is much worse than any of our peer institutions. We’re not out of the woods.”
These increases in funds raised in 2011 have come despite lingering concerns about the state of the economy.
“We are enthusiastic about fundraising as we move into a [new] campaign,” Wilson wrote. “We would, however, like the stock market and the economic climate to be just a bit more stable!”