Award-winning Western Stands for Washington campaign passes fundraising goal

Campaign Surpasses $60 million; Celebration Today on Campus

The Western Stands for Washington Campaign, the largest comprehensive campaign in the history of Western Washington University, passed its $60 million goal seven months ahead of schedule – appropriately, on National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 12, 2015. The campaign’s original fundraising deadline had been set for June 30, 2016.

The university is celebrating the success of the campaign on campus today on WWU’s 123rd Founders’ Day anniversary.  As of Jan. 31, the campaign total had reached $62 million.

“The success of this campaign really isn’t about exceeding ambitious goals or making history,” said Western President Bruce Shepard. “It’s about engaging people around Western’s capacity to make a positive difference in the world, building upon our distinctive strengths and making them increasingly accessible to Washington.

“The generous commitments made to enhance programs, facilities and especially scholarships all reflect that, but so does the ‘buzz’ generated about Western across the state. We’re tremendously grateful to everyone who chose to invest in Western’s future, and the differences that our students can make in the lives of others here in Washington and around the world,” Shepard said.

Hoyt Gier, ’80, a former WWU Foundation president and chair of the Western Stands for Washington Campaign planning committee, said: “This is really a tremendous achievement for Western and the Foundation. The impact on the university will be exceedingly positive and will reach well beyond the boundaries of the campaign. Recognition should extend to all – our campaign volunteers, faculty, staff, administration and students – who make Western such a special place.”

Stephanie Bowers, vice president of University Advancement and president and CEO of the WWU Foundation, said that commitments to current and future scholarships during the course of the campaign have doubled, and Western “is already feeling the transformative impact the campaign is having on our faculty, programs and colleges.

 “It is also a wonderful example of the ways in which our supporters, both on and off campus, are able to collaborate, implementing a shared vision and commitment to the university’s future,” Bowers said.

Part of that collaboration and commitment to the university’s students shines brightly in the growing portfolio of gifts funded by a wide range of contributors, from local and state businesses to WWU’s own supportive alumni.

“Whether it’s a community-based effort to endow a key professorship, an industry-supported initiative to create the innovative Institute for Energy Studies or the numerous commitments across our constituents to establish new student scholarships, gifts such as these embody the Western community’s commitment to philanthropy in multiple ways,” said Deborah DeWees, assistant vice president for Alumni, Annual Giving and Advancement communications. “Our supporters’ critical participation has direct and measurable impact on the growing needs of our students and of the university as a whole.”

For Western student Anne Huntemer-Silveira, (’17), a Behavioral Neuroscience major and the proud recipient of an Alumni Association Scholarship, WWU’s donors’ generosity translates as the difference between, as she puts it, a college experience and a Western experience. “In the former,” she says, “I work an extra job, take out a loan and spend most of my free time studying. But the Western experience – thanks to my scholarship support – means no extra job, no loan, ample studying time and I get to explore the university, Bellingham and the things that I love.”

In addition to surpassing the campaign goal months in advance, the excellence of the campaign was further reflected by winning two awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE); one for the overall campaign and one for its website, as well as several commendations for the Campaign’s Insider newsletter and related publications.

File photo by J.T. Williams / WWU
A crowd of faculty and staff enjoyed a morning celebration breakfast on Founders Day, Feb. 24, 2016. Photo by Rhys Logan / WWU
A crowd of faculty and staff enjoyed a morning celebration breakfast on Founders Day, Feb. 24, 2016. Photo by Rhys Logan / WWU
A crowd of faculty and staff enjoyed a morning celebration breakfast on Founders Day, Feb. 24, 2016. Photo by Rhys Logan / WWU