President, Ripon College
People often seem surprised when I tell them that fundraising on behalf of Ripon College is one of the best parts of my job. In the thousands of miles traveled and hundreds of visits with alumni and friends over the past seven years, I’ve been lucky enough to see just how much our alumni and friends care about the College. Ripon’s giving culture serves as a consistent reminder that the College has always provided students the means to attain an excellent college education. I am heartened by the support of thousands of people who credit a Ripon education with helping them achieve success in their careers and lives.
The Ripon Fund is a critical measure of donor support, providing an average of $2 million annually to the College’s operating budget to enhance the student experience and complement our endowment and tuition dollars. In 2018-2019, the College received just more than $2.6 million in unrestricted Ripon Fund dollars, the largest total in more than two decades. Once again, the second annual #OneDayRally exceeded expectations, reeling in more than $1,085,314 from a total of 1,446 donors, which surpassed the total fundraising goal set for the day by 39%. An additional 506 donors contributed over the previous year.
With more than $4.5 million pledged in 2018-2019 the College experienced 65% growth in restricted giving over the previous year. Thanks to the support of donors, the campus continued its ongoing renovations with the introduction of the Franzen Center for Academic Success in Lane Library, a makeover of Benstead Theatre and the rollout of two active learning classrooms in Todd Wehr Hall and Farr Hall of Science.
The endowment reached an all-time high in 2018-2019 with a market value just shy of $95 million. Thanks to strong market performance and donor support, the endowment has grown 50% since 2012. We want to reach the $100 million mark so that we can continue to provide scholarships and additional resources for faculty and programming.
As we plan for the future, we need you now more than ever. The landscape of higher education is a fluid one. We must remain a leader in providing a first-class education while also making college affordable for our students. We want to be innovative and nimble, and that requires the continued and dedicated generosity of our constituents.
On behalf of the students, faculty and staff, thank you for all you do for Ripon College. I wish you all the best in 2020.
– Zach Messitte, President