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News & Events: September 19, 2007

Calvin Launches Public Phase of No Greater Task

The biggest fundraising project in Calvin College's history will have its public launch on Wednesday, September 19 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

Campus Kick-Off

It'll be root beer floats on the Commons Lawn at 1 p.m. on September 18, 2007 as the campus celebrates the launch of the biggest fundraising campaign in school history.

Rootbeer floats on the Commons Lawn
View the photo gallery

"No Greater Task: Hearts and Minds Renewing God's World" is a $150 million capital campaign that Calvin president Gaylen Byker says will be vital to the college's future.

Already $120 million of that $150 million goal has been raised during the leadership gift portion of the Campaign with Calvin employees having pledged $3.5 million of that amount (with an 85 percent participation rate), a commitment Byker says "has helped us significantly as we presented the needs of the college to donors."

Calvin also plans to mark the public launch of the Campaign on Wednesday, September 19 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids with a video presentation about the work of Calvin alumni around the world and dinner for some 1,100 guests.

But first the college's students, faculty and staff will gather to celebrate. Along with the root beer floats on the lawn the college also will have a special 10 a.m. Chapel service on Tuesday.

And it plans that day to unveil a brand-new Campaign Web site, complete with stories and maps of where alumni are at work in the world, a live webcam of work on the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex (a $49.5 million component in the Campaign), a video clip of President Byker answering frequently asked Campaign questions (such as why does the college need a "fancy" gym) and an on-line giving option.

"No Greater Task: Hearts and Minds Renewing God's World" is a $150 million capital campaign that Calvin president Gaylen Byker says will be vital to the college's future.

"We are at a critical time in the college's history with significant challenges facing us in the areas of scholarships and financial aid, faculty research, campus funding and new buildings," he says. "The Campaign for Calvin College has been carefully designed to meet not just the needs of today, but also the needs of tomorrow."

During the leadership gift phase of the Campaign the college has raised about $120 million of the total $150 million goal, including significant gifts to the new Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex by a number of lead donors.

That Complex, which is a $49.5 million component in the overall Campaign, will include a new arena, a new acquatic center, a new indoor track and tennis center, and a renovation of the current Calvin Fieldhouse into a health and wellness center (the latter also includes building a new student health center within the facility as part of the renovation). The expansion began this past spring; the first phase is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2008, and the entire project by the end of 2009.

Endowments for Scholarships, Financial Aid, Faculty Research Are Critical Components

The Campaign for Calvin College also includes a $64 million goal for endowments for scholarships and financial aid, faculty research and development, and campus maintenance and renovation.

Byker says those three areas are critical components of the fundraising effort and will address funding of programs and projects that currently impact the student body, the professors and the campus infrastructure.

The endowment for scholarships and financial aid has a goal of $22 million, money that will provide assistance for generations to come. The increased scholarships and financial aid Byker says are vital for Calvin's success.

"Calvin is committed to maintaining its national status as one of the best buys in higher education," he says. "Our tuition is consistently below that of nearly all peer institutions. However, for many Calvin students, tuition remains a challenge. Building endowment for scholarships and financial aid will help the college provide need- and merit-based assistance for all students."

The endowment goal for faculty research and development also is $22 million. Byker says the money is necessary for Calvin to retain exceptional teacher-scholars and to attract new talent. Finally the goal for the campus maintenance and renovation endowment is $20 million and that fund will ensure that Calvin is able to maintain its picturesque campus, while reserving tuition dollars for maintaining the quality of a Calvin education.

New Campus Commons, FAC Renovation On Horizon

Another $32 million of the $150 million goal will go towards one new building and the major renovation of a venerable Calvin landmark. The new complex will be a Campus Commons, a 120,000 square foot, $25 million facility that will include 60,000 square feet of dining space and is intended to become a central campus hub for students, faculty, staff and visitors alike.

"It will serve as the heart of the campus community," says Byker, "a place where the vital conversations begun in the classroom can continue."

Finally $7 million will go to a complete overhaul of the Fine Arts Center, which requires extensive renovations to continue to serve lovers of the arts from both the college and the greater community. Since it opened in 1966, the FAC has hosted an estimated 18,000 events, many of which welcome the public.

"It's starting to feel its age," says Byker, who notes that the FAC will be remodeled to create additional practice, rehearsal, teaching and performance space and will receive upgrades to seating, lighting and acoustics as well as new wall and floor finishes.

"With these improvements," he says, "the FAC will continue to welcome Calvin and the broader community for years to come."

School officials expect that the public phase of the Campaign for Calvin College will be completed in the fall of 2009.

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