Campaign kicks off with gala celebration

April 13, 2013

Roanoke Rising: The Campaign for Roanoke College fundraising campaign launched Saturday, April 13, at Alumni Weekend. The College announced the largest campaign in its history, with a fundraising goal of $200 million and five priorities:  capital and building projects, scholarships and student support, academic programs and faculty support, the Roanoke Fund, and the President’s Fund for Excellence.

The evening’s biggest news was a surprise announcement of a $25 million pledge from Roanoke alumna and Board member Nancy Mulheren ’72 and her family, which includes son Sandy ’02, his wife Vanessa ’02, and her late husband John ‘71. Mulheren shared, “I believe in Roanoke. Roanoke College has always been deep in our hearts, and my family wants to do all that we can to make a difference. In honor of my family’s life changing experiences at Roanoke and in support of generations of young Maroons to come, I am pleased to share our gift of $25,000,000.”

This pledge, the largest in the College’s history, brings Roanoke to well more than half way to its campaign goal.

According to the College’s Vice President for Resource Development Connie Carmack, “To be able to launch our campaign with a gift of this magnitude is exceptional. The generosity and loyalty of Roanoke alumni is remarkable. We are positioned for unprecedented success.”

More than 1100 alumni, students and friends of Roanoke College celebrated the momentous kick-off with food and festivities under a large tent on the College’s back quad. The evening began with a reception and personal testimonies of how Roanoke has inspired a student, an alumnus and a staff member. Bob Rotanz ’78 emceed the event.

“We are here because we believe in the future of Roanoke College,” said Rotanz, a standout lacrosse player for Roanoke in the seventies who now owns Mac & Bob’s restaurant in Salem. “You believe, as you always have, that you have a part to play in that vision.”

President Mike Maxey addressed the crowd with details about how the campaign will change Roanoke’s future through its five priorities. They include funding for building and capital projects, student scholarships and support, academic programs and faculty support, the president’s opportunity fund and the Roanoke Fund.

The capital projects include construction of the Cregger Center, an athletic and educational building that will house a 2,500 seat performance gymnasium, the Roanoke Valley’s only indoor competitive track, a fitness center, an athletic training facility and classrooms and labs. The center will be a crossroads for campus life and a center for health and wellness.  The center is named for Morris Cregger ’64, who is the chair of Roanoke’s Board of Trustees.

Roanoke track and cross country athlete, Emily Reichenbach ’13, said the center’s planned indoor track will be a great enhancement to the campus. “Academics and athletics are at the core of Roanoke College,” she said.

The second capital project is a state-of-the-art science complex that will connect three campus buildings, Massengill Auditorium, Trexler Hall and Life Science into a cutting-edge modern science facility.

“I sincerely believe that when we have reached the successful conclusion of this campaign, you will look back over a transformational period in the history of Roanoke—a transformation that will enable the college to rise to a new level of excellence and national acclaim,” Maxey said.

In the last three years, Roanoke has twice been named as  a U.S. News & World Report’s Top 10 Up and Comer among the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges.

The program for the event featured a video history of Roanoke College by Steve Mason ’91 and featured music by Roanoke College student ensembles, including the Roanoke College Choir, the Oriana Singers and the Roanoke College Jazz and Wind Ensembles. After the program, the kickoff became a campus-wide celebration, with dancing and music by the Waller Family Band.