Over the years, secondary education has been changing, leading universities to rethink and re-strategize to ensure their futures. Valparaiso University is no different. Creating the Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future in support of the VU endowment is one of the ways the university is adapting and preparing to pass the torch to future generations.
Seeing an opportunity to change their business model, especially when it came to fundraising, VU set out to launch its $250 million endowment campaign in September 2016. It is scheduled to continue through June 2021, allowing for time to reach that stretch goal.
“This campaign provides a large foundation as we evolve our business model. It will ensure that programs will be here in perpetuity,” said Mark Heckler, Ph.D., president of VU. “We focused for seven years on building the endowment, which is indicative of building a stronger foundation for VU’s future.”
With an endowment, the university can accept donations, invest them, and hold the principal in perpetuity while using earnings from the invested assets to support programs or services designated by the donor. A successful endowment campaign will allow the university to continue things such as scholarships, faculty development, and additional programs that will benefit student growth and prepare them for their future careers.
“The biggest change was from going from constructing buildings to focusing on people and programs,” Heckler said.
The type of endowment maintained at VU allows the donor to specify how investment proceeds will be used. Many donors have chosen endowments that closely reflect their passion and experience. Alumni Michael Gruszyk, ‘85, committed $1.3 million to the endowment campaign as a way to give back to the school he loves. The dedicated funds will go toward creating a professorship and toward scholarships for the College of Business.
“As an alum, I felt a closeness with my professors and genuinely felt like they cared about me as a person, beyond the classroom,” Gruszyk said. “I wanted to give back to the university so that other students who come to VU can get that same experience that I did.”
The $1 million professorship will allow professors to continue their own learning and development. Well-prepared professors lead to providing students an exceptional learning opportunity, which, in turn, expands VU and its mission to create a “community of learning dedicated to excellence.”
“I wanted to continue to bring more prestige to the College of Business and the endowment was my way of saying, ‘Thank you, VU, carry on, carry the torch forward for the next generation,’” Gruszyk said.
With the additional scholarships the endowment campaign has helped to create, the doors to VU and the value of a life-long learning experience are opened to many more.
“It’s important for higher education to be affordable and accessible,” Heckler said. “This campaign reduces the need to rely as heavily on tuition, which will fulfill our vision to ensure the university remains accessible.”
Forever Valpo. The words were chosen thoughtfully and used specifically to describe how students feel about their beloved school and to encapsulate what this endowment campaign seeks to do: ensure a bright future for VU.
As VU is nearing its goal, they are grateful to all alumni and community members who have helped to get them this far. There are several opportunities for anyone who loves and appreciates VU to invest in and become part of this important campaign, ensuring that future generations will receive a quality education at VU.
“We’re pleased that there has been such a good response. Alumni have come out in overwhelming support,” Heckler said. “And we’re always looking for more people to welcome into the family.”
For more information on the Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, visit their website https://www.valpo.edu/forevervalpo/
For more information on Valparaiso University, visit them at https://www.valpo.edu/