Columbia College exceeds goal by raising $11 million

The fund-raising efforts will pay for scholarships and renovations.
Thursday, February 12, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:24 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Large gifts from prominent donors created the momentum needed to make Columbia College’s capital campaign a success, school officials said this week.

Columbia College has received nearly $11 million in its largest fund-raising effort to date, surpassing the campaign’s original aim of $10 million. The campaign commemorated the college’s 150th anniversary, celebrated during the 2000-2001 school year, and increased the size of the college’s endowment.

Destination Excellence: The Sesquicentennial Campaign” began in July 1998 and finished in December 2003.

Early in the campaign, donors John Schiffman and Stan Stafford played important roles, said Terry Smith, the college’s vice president and dean for academic affairs. Schiffman gave $1.5 million and Stafford gave $600,000. Both serve on the school’s Board of Trustees and, coincidentally, are retired soft-drink distributors.

Later in the campaign, a $1.2 million grant from the Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., was matched by $1.4 million in smaller private donations. That money is being used toward construction of a 23,000-square-foot Atkins-Holman Student Commons, scheduled to open in the fall. It is named by Tom Atkins and Linda Holman Atkins in honor of their parents. Tom Atkins is a trustee emeritus and Linda Holman Atkins was a member of the class of 1954.

Also, a bequest for $825,000 came from the late Genevieve Koontz Buchanan, who graduated from the college in 1938.

Money creates scholarships, allows renovations

The sizable donations, pooled with others, have expanded the operating margin of the college and provided it with scholarships, programs, and better buildings, Smith said.

The success of the campaign has created scholarships including the George Ann Sidney Larson Scholarship, in honor of Larson, a former professor at Columbia College — and the Althea and John Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture Series for better ethics, religious studies and philosophy.

Money from the campaign also went toward renovation and expansion of Buchanan Hall, the college’s computer hub, and the Southwell Complex, the college’s athletic and recreational facility, according to information from Columbia College.

The fund-raising effort involved more than 80 volunteers — led by co-chairs Dan Scotten and Jolene Marra Schulz, and 4,000 donors nationwide. The number of alumni donors grew by 38 percent during the campaign.

“The major contributors were oftentimes alumni of the college and members of the Board of Trustees,” Smith said. “They wanted to invest in the future of the institution.”

“The Board of Trustees contributed 30 percent of the total given for the campaign,” said John Schirmer, executive director of Development and Alumni Services. “We are grateful for the generosity.”

Smith also said that college officials are developing plans for another fund-raising campaign for improvements to Missouri Hall, construction of a science laboratory, more scholarships and the school’s new center at the Lake of the Ozarks.

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