Butler University donors demonstrated unwavering support to Butler students this year, giving more than $16.6 million toward scholarships and other student support initiatives during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which concluded on May 31. In total, 15,385 Butler donors gave $28.5 million to Butler Beyond, the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, boosting the total raised to date to $184.9 million toward the $250 million campaign goal. Along with generous giving, Butler experienced a year of great momentum in a number of important ways, including the unveiling of its new strategic direction.
As the University neared the completion of its Butler 2020 strategic plan, President Jim Danko and other University leaders kicked off the academic year with a summer tour of alumni communities around the country, sharing a vision for Butler’s future centered on the need to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing landscape in higher education. More than 220 alumni and guests attended the small summer gatherings in 12 cities for a preview of the University’s new strategic direction.
On October 5, Butler welcomed more than 1,200 alumni and friends for an evening to remember at Clowes Memorial Hall as the University unveiled the new Butler Beyond strategic direction and $250 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. With an emphasis on innovation and collaborative partnerships, the new strategic direction builds upon Butler’s strengths in delivering an exceptional undergraduate residential education, while expanding to offer opportunities for lifelong learning and new educational pathways that are more affordable and flexible. The Butler Beyond campaign is organized around three pillars aimed to fuel this new strategic direction: student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.
While the new strategic direction was developed in anticipation of disruption coming to the higher education landscape over the next decade, that disruption occurred more quickly than predicted when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the University to move all classes online for the remainder of the academic year in March. Though the disruption caused by the health crisis was unexpected, it revealed the wisdom of the University’s strategy to diversify its offerings and prepare for a changing student demographic. Donor support allowed Butler to respond quickly to the year’s disruptions and remain in a strong position moving forward.
Looking ahead, one of the major funding priorities of the campaign is the expansion and renovation of the University’s sciences facilities following the Board of Trustees’ approval of the $100 million project last June. Students, faculty, staff, and donors gathered on campus to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the project in October, and a $1.5 million gift from the Hershel B. & Ethel L. Whitney Fund this year pushed the University to more than $29 million raised to date toward the University’s $42 million fundraising goal for the project.
Mayor Joe Hogsett MA ’87 and other alumni and city leaders visited campus on October 25 for the official dedication of the new 110,000-square-foot building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, which opened for classes last summer and was funded in large part by more than $22 million in donor gifts. Autumn also brought the public reveal of the latest round of renovations to Hinkle Fieldhouse, which included the installation of air conditioning and a complete renovation of the Efroymson Family Gym. The $10.5 million project was entirely funded through donor gifts, including a major gift to name the practice court in honor of beloved Butler graduate Matt White.
This fiscal year donors also committed more than $114,000 to the Butler Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides one-time financial support to Butler students facing unforeseen hardships, including some related to the COVID-19 crisis. The influx of support for the fund is expected to be sufficient to fulfill student needs for the next several years.
Donors wishing to provide ongoing support to Butler students beyond the immediate crisis are now directing their gifts to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship after the University committed an additional $10 million in financial aid for incoming and current students in response to the unforeseen economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Donors gave more than $1.5 million to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship during the fiscal year, which will help the University to fulfill its increased financial commitment to students. Thanks to generous donor support of scholarships during this fiscal year, the University has now raised more than $44 million toward its campaign goal of $55 million in scholarship support.
Continuing their extensive generosity throughout the Butler Beyond campaign, several of Butler’s Trustees also made significant gifts this year, including gifts to the Sciences project, new endowed scholarships, and a broad range of other initiatives across campus.
The University’s annual Day of Giving in February was the most successful in school history, setting a number of records including:
- A University record of $482,725 raised, a 55 percent increase from the previous year
- A University record of 1,569 gifts received, a 23 percent increase from the previous year
Other University milestones in the 2019-20 fiscal year included:
- The October announcement by the Board of Trustees of the extension of President Danko’s contract through August 2024
- 31 donors reached lifetime cumulative giving to Butler University of $100,000 or more, qualifying for the Carillon Society
- 546 full-time faculty/staff members made a gift, representing more than 50 percent of full-time Butler employees
- Fairview Heritage Society donors committed more than $15 million in estate/planned gifts this year
- 1,846 new donors made a first-time gift to the University
Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.
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