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Anniversary funds ease budget crunch

The sesquicentennial fundraising campaign has helped to alleviate the impact of this year’s cutbacks, as the celebration of Mills’ 150 year anniversary continues.

According to Sally Randel, vice president of the office of institutional advancement, $73 million of a $100 million goal had already been raised by Sept. 30. Most of the money is already in use, she said, and had the money not been raised, the college’s financial situation would be worse.

“It’s just like getting a pay cut,” she said of the $50 million reduction in the endowment. “If we hadn’t raised the money we would have more difficulty.”

Randel said she feels it is important for Mills to uphold the excellence of education received here, so a significant portion of the money already received has been used to fund financial aid and academic programs.

Randel said $11.4 million of the money accumulated, which was allotted to endow financial aid-5.6 percent, or about $600,000, will be paid out annually.

“Financial aid for students is something we want to permanently support going forward,” she said.

Of the total $100 million goal, $52 million is slated to go toward the endowment and current funds, 95 percent of this has already been raised. Of the remaining $48 million designated for the use of building projects, 41 percent of the money has been compiled.

Along with money raised for financial aid, $5 million has gone to the support of new programs. She said that the addition of new majors such as intermedia arts, environmental science, business administration, and public policy were funded by the campaign. $6.5 million has funded faculty scholarships.

President Holmgren said she is very pleased with the way the campaign is going. Randel said she feels fortunate that the campaign, which started in 1997, began while the economy was still strong because donors gave more. Now, gifts are smaller.

“The financial markets are not conducive to giving and donors are not feeling that wealthy,” said Randel.

The campaign was intended to end in May 2003, but “the truth is, we’ll keep going until we finish [raising the money],” she said.

The commemoration of the anniversary will continue throughout the academic year. There will be some invitation events for alumnae on campus, and Commencement 2003 will bring the celebration to a close.

“We have had a terrific sesquicentennial year, 2002, with a series of high profile speakers and events both on and off campus and celebration to engage the entire community in recognition of Mills’ outstanding history and current strength. We will continue our celebration into the spring semester, concluding with Commencement 2003,” said Holmgren.

Some of this year’s events included a reunion for the class of 1997 and the centennial class of 1952, the speech given by the president and chief executive officer of the Global Fund for Women, Kavita Ramdas at convocation, and Holmgren’s address at Colloquium on the trends and the evolving identity of Mills women throughout the last 150 years.