Because of You, We Did It: Eckerd College Honors Supporters of Many Experiences, One Spirit: The Campaign for Eckerd College
On the evening of Friday, October 14, 2011, 250 supporters of Eckerd College came together under the multicolored lights of the GO Pavilion to celebrate the extraordinary achievement of Many Experiences, One Spirit: The Campaign for Eckerd College. The Campaign Celebration was the culmination of the largest, most successful fundraising campaign in Eckerd's history, raising $82.7 million in gifts and pledges and almost tripling the College's endowment. This very special evening was an elegant tribute to the generous support of nearly 11,000 Trustees, alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, organizations and friends.
The warm autumn air of Florida complemented the perfect setting for this historic event. Over dessert, guests were entertained by moving remarks from President Donald R. Eastman III, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Miles C. Collier, and Campaign Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees Grover C. Wrenn '64. Four short films - including Because of You, which recognized the steadfast commitment of Eckerd's supporters - punctuated the festivities and were received with grand applause. "The seeds that are planted by this Campaign," attested longtime Trustee Helmar Nielsen in one emotional video vignette, "will yield for a very, very long time."
Eckerd students also expressed their appreciation for the phenomenal giving of those who supported the Campaign by presenting a signed banner to all in attendance. "Without your generosity," one entry reads, "I wouldn't be here. Thank you." The banner was displayed prominently and served as an inspirational reminder of the Campaign's ultimate purpose and beneficiaries.
Guests were treated to original artwork throughout the evening. On display was Eckerd Visual Arts Professor Kirk Ke Wang's painting Chrysanthemums, which honors the foresight, faith and fortitude demonstrated by Board Chairman Miles Collier during the Campaign. An accompanying exhibit featured "The Campaign," a poem by Peter Meinke, Eckerd Professor Emeritus of Literature and Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, which commended Grover Wrenn '64 for his leadership as Campaign Chairman and his endless loyalty to and thoughtfulness toward Eckerd College. As a parting favor, guests received a copy of Seeing What Matters: Eckerd College at 50, Jeanne Meinke's book of evocative line drawings of the College campus. Attendees admired each piece on display for its unique representation of Eckerd's indomitable spirit.
In his poignant address to guests, President Eastman concluded the evening with the following words: "Your gifts to this College honor and support the work our faculty do to produce graduates whose education and dedication are making the world a better place: scientists, artists, social workers, teachers, political activists, philanthropists in every sense of that grand old Greek word: Thank you from a grateful college."