History of the Campaign

Vision Innovation Passion Campaign Broke Fundraising Records

When the Champlain College Board of Trustees voted five years ago to approve a new comprehensive $25 million fundraising campaign, it's safe to say very few could have imagined the challenges the Great Recession would bring to Vermont, the nation and world.

The College was just coming off a major community celebration of "50 Years on the Hill" highlighting that Champlain had grown from one building and 60 students earning associates degrees in 1958 to 42- plus buildings and more than 2,000 students earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in 2008.

Academic programs were humming along. A new study abroad campus in Dublin opened and the Montreal program marked its first anniversary. Woodbury College became part of Champlain in August; The  Emergent Media Center was setting up in the Winooski Mill, and the Core and LEAD programs were building out their curriculums.

Champlain continued to strive to increase its capacity to fund scholarships, especially for under-served populations of students like New Americans, single parents and first-generation students.

Perry HallChamplain's master plan showed the addition of five major building priorities including renovation of Perry Hall, a new Communication and Creative Media addition to Hauke Center and three residence halls and landscaping.

The drive to provide state-of-the-art educational facilities and housing for Champlain students was moving forward at a quickening pace. The renovated Aiken Hall became home to the Core Division. Ground was broken at what would become the Roger H. Perry Hall Welcome and Admission Center. It would later earn LEED Platinum, the highest rating for sustainability and win awards for historic preservation and design.

Looking back, it is amazing to see that the pace barely slowed at Champlain while the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression was settling in.

Careful resource management and the nimble ability to take advantage of cost-savings in construction, allowed important projects like Perry Hall, the new residential hall projects and the acquisition of several important properties to proceed on schedule despite the economic downturn. Facing perhaps the greatest challenges were those whose job it was to raise the money. The Great Recession created a difficult  fundraising climate for organizations big and small. Still in 2010, two years into the $25 million campaign, nearly 75 percent of Champlain's faculty and staff had contributed.

It was clear that those who knew Champlain best, remained passionate about the innovative vision of the College to achieve its goals. Relationships with alumni and employers were strengthened as new programs in digital forensics, emergent media, game design, professional writing and international business grew in prominence. The Champlain College Summit on Appreciative Inquiry in August 2011 opened new doors to relationships with Vermont employers.

The update of the Champlain 2020 Vision in 2012 refined the steps necessary for Champlain to become the finest small, professionally and globally focused college in the United States.

Stiller SignageBob and Holly Miller maintained their long tradition of support through the construction of the Miller Center at Lakeside. The new building allowed the College to consolidate administrative services and centers of excellence under one roof and freed up classroom and office space on the main campus. Behind the scenes, President David Finney and the Campaign Cabinet, led by Michael Metz and Dawn Terrill '88, were laying the groundwork for what would become a transformational $10 million gift from the Stiller Family Foundation and the creation of the Stiller School of Business in fall of 2012.

In atypical fashion, the last fiscal year of the five-year campaign saw more than $15 million added to the tally, among those numbers - seven families  contributing more than $100,000 each. And finally,  Champlain alumni -new and old -met the "2K42M" participation challenge earning a $2 million gift.

$34 Million Raised

The campaign ended June 30 with gifts and pledges of $34 million, well-over the $25 million goal set in 2008. The amount you helped us raise ensures that, as an institution and a community of thinkers and innovators, we'll continue to set new standards of excellence.

This would not have been possible without the magnanimous support from every part of the Champlain family: alumni, students, parents, employees, trustees and friends. We also had record-breaking alumni participation, from the senior gift of a bee apiary by the Class of 2013 to the $2 million raised with the 2K 4 2M Challenge.

We could not be prouder of what we all accomplish together - or more grateful to each of you.

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