Guilford eyes new drive

On heels of $56.3M effort, school still trying to raise $10M.

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. [04.20.04] — Just over a year after completing a campaign that raised more than $56.3 million, exceeding its goal by $6.3 million, Guilford College is still trying to raise roughly $10 million for projects not completely funded by the campaign.

The school also has begun a long-range planning process that is setting the stage for another big campaign.

“I would just guess that within 2˝ to three years the college would be ready to roll again,” says Charlie Patterson, vice president for advancement.

Patterson, who joined Guilford in August 1998, will retire at the end of 2004.

Before then, he says, he aims to focus on the mini-drives to follow up the last campaign and help the school gear up for the next one.

One drive aims to raise $3 million to equip classrooms in the new Frank Family Science Center to serve as labs and to retire debt borrowed to help build the building.

Many of those labs will be designed to meet growing demand for the school’s forensic biology program.

A big part of that demand is from adults in the school’s continuing education program. In four years, continuing-education enrollment has increased to more than 1,000 from less than 300, Patterson says.

A second drive aims to raise $4 million to $6 million for a new fitness center for which the just-ended campaign raised just over $700,000, while a third drive aims to raise $3 million to renovate the Founders Hall student union for which the campaign raised $2 million.

The school, which will name a search committee to find Patterson’s successor, strengthened its advancement operations and annual fund during the 7˝-year campaign.

The annual fund has grown to $1.3 million this year from $1 million in the fiscal year ended in June 1995, when the campaign kicked off its quiet phase.

And the advancement office, which includes fundraising, college relations and alumni relations, has grown to 25 people from 10 in August 1998, when Patterson joined the school.

Patterson, who plans to become a consultant, says the last campaign ended just in time to avoid getting hurt by the economic slump.

“It turned out we finished just as the decline was setting in,” he says. “By the time we climb back into the next capital campaign, hopefully we’ll be at the right time again.”

Anne J. Flora Hurd, who joined Guilford last June as director of development after serving as director of advancement at Canterbury School in Greensboro, says the advancement office is gearing up for the next campaign.

That includes stepped-up efforts to “reconnect our alumni,” particularly through email and the web.

“We’re looking at ways to make our web site more user-friendly and to make online giving easier,” she says.

Guilford has 12,000 alumni it actively solicits, including 3,000 to 4,000 for whom it has email addresses.

The school is looking for ways to tailor part of its web site to younger donors, including the use of electronic class notes.

It also has added an electronic newsletter for alumni, and made changes in its alumni magazine, which recently received an improvement award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

“This year,” says Hurd, “Charlie wanted to make sure the house is in very good order before he retires.”

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