Over the top : Campaign exceeds goal

October 01, 2009

Gill Center quaked on Saturday night, Sept. 26, when more than 20 students wearing green and gold t-shirts emblazoned with the words, “Living, Learning, Teaching,” rocked into the tented arena to celebratory drumming and joined Campaign Chair Lee Rice in announcing the dollars in gifts and pledges raised to date for the Carpe Diem Campaign for McDaniel.

SGA president Dave Castle ’10 led the rally as a record number of Founders Society dinner guests chanted each figure as it was revealed, beginning with the last dollar raised. The grand total was $73,303,401! Balloons dropped overhead and guests joined in launching clouds of confetti amidst congratulatory applause for the most successful fundraising initiative in College history.

Two years ago, Campaign Chair Rice accurately predicted a meteoric success when he formally announced the $65-million Carpe Diem goal at the Founders Dinner. With heartfelt thanks, he noted the exceptional efforts of the entire Campaign team, trustees, volunteers, faculty and staff, who have collaborated and provided exceptional efforts to all phases of the campaign.

“We have enjoyed an incredible rocket ride, one that will continue until December 31,” Rice said adding that great needs and challenges still exist to strengthen the College in providing the “life-changing opportunity we know as a McDaniel education.

“Serving as chairman of the Campaign has been a great privilege and the highlight of my last 29 years of working association with and for the College,” added Rice who with his wife, President Joan Develin Coley, received a standing ovation following a champagne toast given by Board Chair Martin K.P. Hill.

“This has been an extraordinary year, one filled with challenge yet, on our most difficult of days, I never doubted for a moment that this community would rise to the occasion and do what we do best: make a difference in the lives of our students,” said Coley.

In her brief remarks, she referred to alumnus and biology major Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, class of 1974, who was inducted into the College’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter earlier on Monday, and is the world’s authority on jaguars and other big cat species.

“‘Always aim high,’ Rabinowitz told students, professors and others gathered for the lecture as he pointed to an Albert Einstein quote projected on two screens in McDaniel Lounge that read: ‘One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.’”

Coley thanked the guests for their benevolence toward the College. “All of you here tonight have demonstrated by example and encouragement what we can achieve for McDaniel College through our greatest efforts.”  She further pledged that in her final year as president, she will continue to share the McDaniel story and provide opportunities for donors to support unfunded initiatives.

“I’m anxious to see just how far above $65 million we can climb. Like our namesake, William Roberts McDaniel, I am determined,  ‘There shall be no Alps!’”

Also recognized with a standing ovation was Dr. James Lightner, College historian and author of Fearless and Bold, whose book tour lectures have engaged members of the College family in every location. Over 1,000 copies of his book, Fearless and Bold, have been purchased, and the sales combined with the partnership of the WMC Heritage Society, have endowed a student scholarship.

During the final weeks of the campaign, Rice encouraged donors to support Leroy Merritt’s $5 million challenge  – $1 million of which has been matched to date – for residence hall renovation and the stadium project. “Even after the Campaign ends on December 31st, our good friend Leroy will continue to match gifts and pledges for these projects,” said Rice.

“Tell your friends what makes McDaniel the special community you love… ask them, invite them, charm them — even seduce them,” Rice added with a wicked smile, “to join you and the College family in Carpe Diem: The Campaign for McDaniel. We’re headed for the moon.”

Watch the video at YouTube.com