William Jewell College President David Sallee announced March 3 that the private, independent liberal arts college in Liberty, Mo., has raised leadership gifts and commitments totaling $50 million during the first phase of its comprehensive fundraising campaign, including a new $3 million gift toward the campaign’s cornerstone project.
The announcement of the leadership gift by Jewell alumni Fred and Shirley Pryor toward construction of the new Pryor Learning Commons was made at the March 3 Celebration of Achievement at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in downtown Kansas City. More than 550 friends of the College attended the institution’s annual scholarship fundraising event, which included a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham.
The new Pryor Learning Commons is the signature project in the first phase of “Shaping the Journey: The Campaign for Jewell,” which focuses on $55 million of priority initiatives coming out of the College’s strategic plan adopted in late 2007. The Campaign, with over 10,500 donors to date, is on pace to be the largest in the history of the 162-year-old liberal arts institution.
“Fred and Shirley Pryor have once again made a gift that is both prescient and inspiring,” said President Sallee. “Nearly two decades ago, they helped us create the Pryor Leadership Fellows Program because they knew that quality leaders hold the key. Now, they understand that learning is different and will continue to evolve. The intellectual heart of the college must lead that evolution. And this learning commons will be that vibrant center that every great college needs.”
The Pryors affirmed their belief in the importance of the Learning Commons project. “The world is changing at an unparalleled rate,” said Fred Pryor, a member of the William Jewell College class of 1956. “The role of a great college like William Jewell is to prepare students for leadership and service in the future. We are pleased to be able to play a part in that process.”
The announcement marks the beginning of the Campaign’s public phase. Areas of emphasis include the construction of the new Pryor Learning Commons; funding for the College’s Center for Justice and Sustainability; endowed scholarship support; student grants for self-designed projects; support for athletic programs; endowments for faculty and program support; student housing; and annual operating support. “The Campaign is positioned to make the College accessible to all deserving applicants, broaden experiential learning opportunities for students, and prepare Jewell to be more responsive to emerging trends in teaching and learning,” said Dr. Chad Jolly, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
Among the major commitments received to date is a $6.5 million pledge from the Hall Family Foundation made in early 2008. This is the largest single pledge commitment to the College in over a decade, and a majority of the funds support the Learning Commons. The Kansas City-based William T. Kemper Foundation, Sunderland Foundation, JE Dunn Construction Company and the Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation have also provided significant support to the Campaign’s signature project. The College plans to raise another $3.5 million toward the Learning Commons and then begin construction.
“The past several years have brought revolutionary changes in library services, rapid evolution of computerized information processing, and shifts in how students learn,” said Dr. Jolly. “We envision the new Pryor Learning Commons as the heart of intellectual life on campus, a center of vital technology, a launch point for engaged learning, and a truly collaborative learning space where students and faculty will engage one another and the issues of the day.”
President Sallee added: “This Learning Commons for the future is certainly more than a repository for books; it is a vibrant space—the intellectual engine for a community of scholars who process and access information differently than previous student generations.
Hall Family Foundation Vice President Angela Andresen McClelland voiced support for the project. “We have long appreciated Jewell’s emphasis on rigorous educational experiences and we applaud plans to build on its outstanding academic reputation by doing what is required to attract the best faculty and students to the College and to Kansas City.”
President Sallee concluded: “We are grateful to our alumni, to Kansas City supporters, and to all our partners who assist in preparing students to lead and serve in a rapidly changing world.”
The Campaign for Jewell is currently scheduled to run to 2015 and the second phase will begin in 2012. For more information about “Shaping the Journey: The Campaign for Jewell,” go to http://www.jewell.edu/campaign/.
William Jewell College is committed to bringing together talented students and gifted faculty mentors within a vibrant community sparked by a rigorous and intentional liberal arts curriculum. A full range of personal and professional development experiences are presented by the selective national liberal arts college’s location within the Kansas City metroplex of more than two million.