Greater contributions expected following successful "Shaping Lives With Purpose"

After five years of gaining national recognition, “Shaping Lives with Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo” reached and surpassed its goal, bringing in over $23 million from donors. About 20 percent of Geneseo’s alumni invested in higher education.

The achievement was acknowledged alongside President Christopher Dahl’s celebration of his 20-year career in Geneseo on Sept. 27.

“‘Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo’ marks a turning point. It is our opportunity to stake a claim on our own future,” wrote Dahl on the campaign’s website. “This is the time for all of us to take action – particularly those who have been, or whose children have been, bettered in life by Geneseo. It is our moment to come together and accept responsibility for the well-being of this valuable community of teachers and learners.”

The campaign’s chairman Frank Vafier ’74 attended Friday’s event, where he not only expressed his gratitude for Dahl’s service but also his excitement for future campaigns after the success of “Shaping Lives with Purpose.”

Real estate developer Greg O’Connell ‘64 also attended the celebration for Dahl. At the event, he presented a $1 million donation, becoming the final contributor before the campaign’s conclusion.

Another major campaign contributor was Charles “Bud” VanArsdale, former president of the Bank of Castile, who contributed $2.5 million, establishing the VanArsdale Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship. Edward Pettinella ‘73 also donated $1 million to the campaign.

“The campaign donors tripled the total giving from the previous campaign and we exceeded our goal by more than one million dollars,” said Vice President for College Relations and Development Bill Brower, who oversaw the strategy and resources of the campaign earnings. “We achieved a record number of alumni participating in the campaign, collectively 12,900, and established a national footprint that establishes a strong foundation for alumni engagement in the future.”

“It [not only] reflects a new level of our alumni but [also] development programming that models best practices and positions us for continued success in key areas,” Brower said. “This indicates a promising future for scholarships, undergraduate research projects, faculty development and athletics.

“Current students will be the next generation of alumni during our next campaign and we will be counting on them to help ‘pay it forward,’” he said. “It begins with this year’s senior class gift effort. We are encouraging them to achieve 50 percent participation, which would be a new record for Geneseo.”

According to Brower, “Shaping Lives with Purpose” ultimately revealed the devotion Geneseo alumni have to the university and the promising support current Geneseo students have for their school. It poses a challenge for future movements, which will now have to compete with its success.

“Our future begins now with this campaign and the possibilities it will create for this great college,” wrote Dahl, on the website’s campaign description. “As we preserve traditions that connect us to cherished memories, we also embrace bold initiatives that will allow our students to achieve their dreams.”