Eckerd's Grand Celebration
Alumni, parents, students and friends of Eckerd College came together Friday evening, November 14, 2008, at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida, for a Grand Celebration of Eckerd College's people, places and programs. The event, which celebrated Eckerd's 50th Anniversary and formally launched the College's $80 million capital Campaign -- Many Experiences, One Spirit -- included an announcement of a $15 million gift to the proposed new Science facility, which is the centerpiece of the capital Campaign.
During the pre-dinner reception in the Grand Ballroom Foyer, several displays highlighted the accomplishments of the Campaign in its quiet phase, which began in May 2006 and ended with the formal announcement that night. Those accomplishments included extensive renovations to the College Chapel, the creation of a new Fitness Center, the establishment of five endowed professorships, an endowment for lifelong learning programs, and progress toward the construction of a new Center for Ceramic Arts.
Guests were then welcomed into the Vinoy's Grand Ballroom by Eckerd Science students dressed in lab coats and were escorted to their tables, which were set with illuminated beakers and various other science-themed items.
After dinner, President Donald R. Eastman III guided guests through a multimedia presentation that featured the experiences of Eckerd students, faculty and alumni, and explained the fundraising priorities the College will pursue during the public phase of the Campaign. Those priorities include:
- study abroad programs and scholarships;
- scholarships for students in the residential program and the Program for Experienced Learners;
- the Center for Ceramic Arts; and
- the Center for Life and Environmental Sciences.
With a dramatic entrance amid smoke and the crash of a chemistry experiment gone wrong, Grover C. Wrenn '64, Campaign Chairman, took the stage and announced that the Campaign had exceeded $50 million toward its fundraising goal of $80 million. He explained that Eckerd's Science programs are a cornerstone of the College, and therefore a new Science facility is a cornerstone of this Campaign.
Shortly thereafter came the announcement of the $15 million challenge gift for the Science facility, and the end of a memorable evening worthy of Eckerd College's people, places and programs.