Thanks to the support of more than 12,000 alumni, faculty, students, staff and friends, “Educating Champions, the Campaign for Cortland” surpassed its fundraising goal, generating more than $27.5 million to support SUNY Cortland’s institutional priorities.
The five-year campaign, the most ambitious development effort in the College’s history, had sought to raise $25 million -- an amount one early consultant had warned was unrealistic -- when it kicked off July 1, 2008.
“Words cannot express how grateful we are that SUNY Cortland’s alumni, faculty, staff and friends are this strongly committed to the College’s mission, its goals and its ability to produce well-rounded and successful graduates,” College President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “This generosity is proof that SUNY Cortland truly does educate champions.”
Much of the money raised through the campaign will fund scholarships to help the College ensure that all qualified students continue to have access to a SUNY Cortland education.
Campaign funds will support programs and initiatives that encourage academic excellence, transformational education and student and community well being. They will open opportunities for more students to experience wilderness learning at the College’s Center for Environmental and Outdoor Education at Raquette Lake, engage in undergraduate research, expand their horizons through the arts and continue SUNY Cortland’s winning athletic tradition. Through the campaign, the College’s world-class faculty will receive new teaching tools and professional development opportunities designed to make them even more effective.
The funds also will allow the College to strengthen its relationship with SUNY Cortland’s 67,000 alumni by pursuing opportunities to engage them more intimately in campus life and by maintaining the historic Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House as a comfortable “home-away-from-home” in Cortland.
“Our work is far from over, but the overwhelming response to this campaign creates a solid foundation for SUNY Cortland’s future,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kim Pietro, who serves as executive director of the Cortland College Foundation. “As higher education costs rise and government support recedes, the support of our alumni means more to SUNY Cortland than ever. “
The campaign was successfully led by Brian Murphy ’83, former chair of the Cortland College Foundation, and Louise Conley, the current chair. The Foundation is the official gift-receiving arm of the College, charged with managing those funds to help further the mission of SUNY Cortland.
But it was the campaign’s 12,440 donors, contributing in amounts ranging from just a few dollars to several million, that made the effort a stellar success, Pietro and Bitterbaum said. Those donors will continue to play an important role as the College moves beyond the campaign and The Cortland Fund continues its annual efforts in support of SUNY Cortland’s institutional priorities.
“Our supporters come from every income level and every walk of life,” Bitterbaum said. “We are humbled by the fact that so many people appreciate what SUNY Cortland did for them and feel they have a lifelong relationship with the College. With their help, we are confident that future generations of graduates will feel the same about their Cortland experience.”