Screenshot c/o

Screenshot c/o

On June 30, the University ended This Is Why, its most successful fundraising campaign, with over $482 million raised. The campaign began in 2007, and since then nearly 80 percent of alumni having donated to the campaign. Parents of University students have donated $51 million.

The closing amount raised of $482 million exceeded the original goal of $400 million. The three goals of the This Is Why were to increase funding for access, inquiry, and impact. This was done through donating to financial aid, new resources to recruit and train faculty, and improving access to internships and research stipends.

“The THIS IS WHY campaign raised over $274 million to make a Wesleyan education possible for motivated, talented students who could not otherwise afford to attend without financial assistance or without incurring heavy debt,” the This Is Why campaign website reads.

A portion of the funds, $145 million, was used in the form of new resources to recruit and train faculty, in pursuit of the inquiry goal. These resources were also given to both student and faculty endeavors in other programs, including the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Center for the Humanities, the College of the Environment, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.

Another portion of the money raised, $61 million, went toward the impact goal, which aimed to deepen students’ opportunities outside academics, including internships and community engagement. This came in the form of internship stipends and research funding for students.

“Internships, service learning, and related research are of enormous value to Wesleyan students, but there are financial constraints,” the This Is Why campaign website reads. “Wesleyan alumni all over the world want to offer internships, for example, but there are limited funds for stipends that would enable students to accept them.”

The campaign marked the launching of four new interdisciplinary colleges within the University, including those in Film, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, and Integrative Sciences. Similarly, the campaign launched the Center for Pedagogical Innovation, which is dedicated to inspiration, incubation, and dissemination of pedagogical innovations. The campaign also helped in the renovation of Boger Hall.

In June, the last month of the campaign, $1 million was added through the $1 Million Cardinal Challenge. John Usdan ’80, Chair of the This Is Why campaign and Trustee Emeritus, donated $500 for every gift made to the campaign. All donations from the challenge were donated to the This Is Why campaign.

The University also had its most successful fiscal year of fundraising so far, raising over $79 million in gifts and pledges.

The campaign ended on June 16 with a celebratory gala at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Campaign leaders honored included Joshua Boger ’83, Alan Dachs ’70, Ellen Jewett ’81, Donna Morea ’76, and Usdan.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the extended Wesleyan family during the course of the THIS IS WHY fundraising campaign,” University President Michael Roth ’78 said in a statement to the University newsletter. “In traveling around the world and speaking to alumni and parents about why they choose to make a Wesleyan education their cause, I have been so impressed by the loyalty and ambition of this community….I have been able to describe to [alumni] how their gifts to Wesleyan enable us to strengthen the things they care so much about. This being Wesleyan, our supporters are not primarily interested in replicating the past. Instead, they tend to want to recreate the conditions of change that have allowed our University to have a powerfully transformative impact on its students.”

  • GD Klein

    Why did it take NINE (9) years to raise the desired goal exceeding $400M? Most peer institutions manage to raise this or more money in much less time.

    George Devries Klein, ’54, Emeritus Professor, Univ of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign