By JACK BILBOROUGH
Colorado College’s “Building on Originality” campaign started its fundraising goals of $435 million in pledges and 50 percent alumni participation. So far, the campaign boasts $313 million in pledges from 26,073 donors, totaling 38 percent alumni participation.
The campaign focuses on “Originality” as impetus for donation. “Through our campaign,” the fund’s website reads, “we will raise $435 million to empower the independent-minded people who seek out our unique approach to higher learning.” The page also claims that originality empowers, transforms, builds, and creates.
Each of these abstract goals carries with it a very tangible goal. Funds donated to the campaign claim to “empower” students and fund scholarships that open the door to less privileged students. Donations “transform” in their effect on the developing Innovation Program at CC, “build” by backing the library renovation, and “create” in their support of the newly acquired Fine Arts Center (FAC).
President Jill Tiefenthaler hosted a conference call in relation to the “Building on Originality” fund drive with alumni and parents on Oct. 16. In this call, President Tiefenthaler listed accessibility as the head of the drive’s top three priorities, but “first and foremost,” she insisted, “is making a CC education available.” When funded, the campaign will fund 180 new scholarships, she explained.
With these scholarships, the fund aims to increase the diversity of the student body. A diverse student body, according to President Tiefenthaler, is an integral element of the student experience on the Block Plan. “As you all remember,” she says, “the small classes and the intensity of the Block Plan mean that it matters who is sitting around that table.” If the college reaches its fundraising goal, it would be 42 percent of the way towards “need-blind admissions,” an admissions process in which the financials of an applicant are not accounted for.
While these goals might seem incomprehensibly large, it’s important to consider CC’s liminal role in the context of its competing liberal-arts colleges. CC did not make Forbes’ “Top 25 Liberal-Arts Colleges of 2017” list, but the administration’s focus on growth and change with the “Building on Originality” campaign is significant because instead of attempting to maintain the status-quo, CC claims bold moves to transition into the future.