Two anonymous $1 million gifts have helped Southwestern University complete its $150 million fundraising campaign two years ahead of schedule. 

An alumnus and his wife committed to one of the gifts while the parents of a Southwestern graduate provided the second $1 million gift.  Both couples wanted to complete the campaign early  in honor of Jake B. Schrum, who retired from Southwestern at the end of June after serving as president of the university for 13 years.

“It is wonderful for Jake and his wife, Jane, to close their tenure with these gifts,” said Rick McKelvey, vice president for university relations.

One anonymous donor had offered to give the last $1 million of the campaign if the university could raise $149 million by June 30. As of June 28, the university was still about $1.5 million away from that goal. However, on June 28 the university received official notification of a bequest that will be worth $1 million. Just $500,000 short of the goal, university fundraisers spent the final weekend of June raising that amount in the form of gifts ranging from $5,000 to $175,000.

Southwestern began planning the Thinking Ahead campaign in 2001, shortly after Schrum became president. The campaign was publicly launched in the spring of 2006 with a goal of $125 million. In 2011, the university’s Board of Trustees voted to raise the campaign goal to $150 million to help secure funds for a new science center.

The money raised through the Thinking Ahead campaign has dramatically changed the face of Southwestern, both physically and academically. New buildings that were funded by the campaign include the Dorthy Manning Lord Residential Center,  The Wilhelmina Cullen Admission Center and the Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning, which consolidates student services into one building. Several buildings also were renovated, including the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center, the historic Roy and Lillie Cullen Building, Moody-Shearn Residential Hall and Herman Brown Residential Hall. More than $8 million has been raised for the new science center.

Southwestern also was able to enhance its athletic facilities with campaign funds. A new softball field and a baseball field house were built, lights and a new sound system were added to the soccer/lacrosse field, and several existing fields and locker rooms were renovated or enhanced.

On the academic side, the campaign provided initial funding for 18 new faculty positions. It also funded the creation of a new program called Paideia that has become integral to Southwestern’s educational experience.

Funds raised by the campaign also will enable more students to take advantage of the educational experience Southwestern offers. The campaign raised more than $20 million to support student scholarships. An additional $1 million was raised specifically for the Dixon Scholars Program, which provides scholarships for African American, Hispanic and Native American students. Forty students who are currently enrolled at Southwestern benefit from this program.

The Thinking Ahead campaign was the largest fundraising campaign in Southwestern’s history.

“The entire Southwestern community should take pride in reaching the $150 million goal of the Thinking Ahead campaign,” said former President Schrum. “It is especially meaningful to Jane and me that numerous gifts were given in this last year to honor our service to the university.”

Kent Huntsman, associate vice president for development in the office of University Relations, said he was particularly proud of the fact that more than half of Southwestern’s alumni gave a gift at some point in the campaign.

Southwestern now plans to focus its attention on raising the rest of the money needed for its new science center. The university still needs to raise $16 million for that facility.