EphBlog is here to help! Today is the kick off to the Williams Capital Campaign. Elite colleges run capital campaigns — multi-year attempts to raise substantial amounts of money — every decade or so. The typical cycle begins with a new president who spends a few years getting to know the campus, a few years raising money, and then a few years recovering. The last Williams campaign, which started in 2003, targeted $400 million but eventually raised more than $500 million. Some questions:

1) Will this campaign have a catchy slogan or theme? Last time the name was simply the “Williams Campaign,” although there might also have been some “Climb High” branding. I suspect something similarly anodyne this time round. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

2) What will the target amount be? At the low end, I have heard $600 million, which would be 50% more than last time. At the high end, a knowledgeable alum (with no inside info) was certain it would be $1 billion, both because this was an eye-catching target and because it was more than any other liberal arts college, which would be appropriate for an institution of Williams stature. My guess is $1 billion.

3) The Campaign takes place in two stages. The first, going on for the last few years, is the “quiet” phase, during which major gifts are solicited from mega-wealthy donors. At least 1/2, and up to 2/3, of the total money has already been raised. Tonight marks the kick-off of the “public” phase.

4) There is a large fat tail in fundraising, at Williams and elsewhere. Although the College will try to get every alumni (and parent!) to give, the vast majority of the money will be raised by the 500 or so biggest donors, with a disproportionate share coming from the top 5 or 10.


Isn’t it unusual to engage students so deeply in the capital campaign? I certainly don’t recall this from the distant past, nor from the last go-around a decade ago. Typically (and appropriately) the students have no idea what the College’s fundraising machinery is doing. And that is OK!

The OP here, however, is quite clueless. He is surrounded by educational and facility luxuries of every kind. Does he think stuff comes from heaven? Is he so naive as to believe that, even if he is a full pay student, his tuition dollars cover anywhere near the cost of what he consumes? Perhaps. Fortunately, EphBlog is here to educate him! Elite liberal arts colleges cost big money. Unless you want to double tuition, you need to raise lots of money from rich alumni. So, dance, you ungrateful little monkey! Dance!


That is some dance stage! Comments:

1) Thanks to Professor Manigault-Bryant and the other campus Ephs who tweet! Always fun to see/read pictures/descriptions of campus events.

2) There has never (?) been anything like this at the start of a Williams campaign. Last time, I think that the kick-off event was a dinner, for major donors and a few selected students/faculty, at Mount Hope. Good idea? I don’t know. At least there shouldn’t be any rain . . .

3) Looks like #WilliamsCampaign is the official hashtag.

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