July 26, 2013
Donors to Knox College gave more than $17 million dollars during the 2012-13 fiscal year (July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013), setting a record for the most cash raised for Knox in a single fiscal year. In total, $17.7 million was received from alumni, parents, friends, and private organizations to support Knox faculty and students, the College's educational mission, and its annual operations. This total includes close to $6 million raised for the renovation of Alumni Hall (pictured above), $6.9 million in bequests, and $3.6 million in gifts to the Knox Fund, or gifts that support the annual operations of the College. Private gift support represents the College's second largest source of income after tuition.
"This year, we received support for all facets of the Knox experience, including capital projects, endowed scholarships, athletics, faculty support, and the everyday operations of the College," said Beverly Holmes, vice president for Advancement. "The generous support of Knox College's alumni, parents, and friends allows us to offer a transformational education to a diverse and talented group of students. For this, we could not be more grateful."
Continuing support for the renovation of Alumni Hall also bolstered this year's fundraising success. In May, 18 months after introducing a new vision for this historic campus building, Knox reached $11 million toward the renovation goal, including the almost $6 million raised during the 2012-13 fiscal year.
"A $1 million gift from Joseph Bastian '67 and his wife, Diane, along with two challenges -- one issued by two anonymous trustees and the other by Richard '57 and Joan Whitney Whitcomb '56 -- kept our fundraising momentum building over the last year," said Holmes. "We're grateful for the alumni, friends, and members of the Knox and Galesburg communities who supported the vision for a new Alumni Hall and are eager for the renovation process to begin."
With $9.4 million of the $11.7 million project available in cash, the College's Board of Trustees voted at its June meeting to proceed with the building's renovation. Two architectural firms -- Holabird & Root of Chicago and Metzger-Johnson of Galesburg -- are engaged in the renovation process, which is set to begin later this summer. P. J. Hoerr of Peoria will be the general contractor. More information on Alumni Hall can be found at www.knox.edu/alumnihall. With $11.1 million in confirmed pledges for the project, less than $600,000 remains to be raised to furnish the interior of the building.
Of the $6.9 million in bequests raised last fiscal year, $5 million came from the estates of three alumni. Vernon L. E. Stisser Jr., member of the Class of 1962 and trustee of the College, left $1.6 million to support the Prairie Fire football program. In recognition of Stisser's generosity, the football field at Knosher Bowl was named Stisser Field. The Smith V. Brand Endowed Chair in Theatre Arts was established through a $1.3 million estate gift from Smith's partner, Alex Mishoff. Brand was a member of the Class of 1960 and long-time supporter of the College, having established the Smith Brand Endowed Scholarship for Knox students pursuing studies in speech and theatre arts through his own estate. A $2 million gift from the estate of Lilylee Smithwick, wife of Jeremiah G. Smithwick, Class of 1934, was added to the existing Smithwick Scholarship Fund supporting students of need.
"Vern Stisser, Smith Brand, Jeremiah Smithwick and their families have left a lasting legacy on the Knox campus through their support, and their generosity will be forever recognized by the entire Knox community," said Holmes.
More than 8,100 donors made a gift to the Knox Fund and annual operating support for the College, or 115 more donors than last year, leading to a $465,306 increase in gifts. Annual gifts to the Knox Fund are put to immediate use in support of Knox students and faculty and the College's educational program.
While dollars raised grew significantly -- more than $8 million this year than the previous fiscal year -- the monies came from fewer donors. This is a national trend impacting most philanthropic entities.
In addition to this year's fundraising success, Knox College's endowment continues to grow. As of June 30, 2013, Knox's endowment stood at $97 million, its highest level in the College's history. The College's spending rate on the endowment is 7 percent for the coming academic year. Support from the endowment, combined with tuition revenues and private gift support, form the three primary sources of revenue for the College.
Based on this fundraising momentum, Knox plans to move forward with other fundraising priorities, including support for faculty teaching and research and new initiatives to enhance the contemporary student experience.
"A generation of great teachers are retiring from Knox, and funds are needed to attract a new generation of the best and brightest faculty," said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "To enhance the student experience, students must have access to a global education: one that provides them with opportunities to study abroad, hold internships, excel on the playing fields and courts, and participate in community service projects in Galesburg and beyond. These experiences contribute significantly to success after graduation, and donor support is key to helping Knox expand our offerings in these areas. With the support of our generous alumni and friends, Knox will reach the highest standard of twenty-first century excellence."