College secures $10 million through fundraising initiative

President Christopher Dahl announced recently that the college has been very successful in the initial stages of a targeted fundraising program, having secured $10 million in five-year commitments from donors.

"We're heartened by the fact that even in the presence of instability in the financial markets, we've reached the threshold of 10 million," said Michael Catillaz, vice president of College Advancement.

The latest drive for commitments from external donors such as alumni, parents, friends and corporations is part of a larger initiative to "further develop a very strong fundraising program at the college," Catillaz said.

Of the $10 million in commitments, Catillaz said that approximately $6 million will add to the present endowment of roughly $9 million. Funds in the college's endowment are never spent, but interest on the earnings supports programs "that add to the student experience," Catillaz said. This includes scholarships, undergraduate research, faculty research, intercollegiate athletics and endowed professorships, such as the $2.5 million endowed professorship for the School of Business that was recently committed by Charles L. "Bud" VanArsdale.

The remainder of the $10 million supports "current purposes," meaning that the money is applied directly and not invested. Donors contributing to the Fund for Geneseo may request that their donation be allocated for a specific purpose, or they may donate without designation. Catillaz said that he, Dahl and other vice presidents of the college along with the guidance of the Geneseo Foundation Board ensure that this undesignated money is "very, very carefully and thoughtfully used."

The Geneseo Foundation Board consists of approximately 28 volunteers, mostly alumni, who Catillaz described as "very talented and dedicated" to adding to the student experience at Geneseo. Many are executives in major businesses.

In addition to soliciting funds, College Advancement has been working to improve its communication and outreach to those outside the college who may be interested in recent news and developments on campus. These efforts have included revamping and creating new publications for alumni, improving events like homecoming and Parents Weekend, and holding more alumni gatherings throughout the nation. Catillaz said that last year, 33 events engaged as many as 4,100 alumni and parents.