Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Campaign Chairman Grover C. Wrenn '64

GO Pavilion
Friday, October 14, 2011

Good evening. Many years ago, when I was a child, my mother taught me the importance of saying "please" and "thank you." That’s the most basic foundation for fundraising and advancement. We said, "Please," and all of you responded. Tonight, we gather to celebrate and say, "Thank you."

When the Board of Trustees voted to undertake the $75 million Campaign five years ago, I knew we would work hard and that we would accomplish great things, and, boy, did we accomplish more than any previous campaign in the history of the College. I did not know what the chances were of succeeding and reaching that $75 million goal. It was far beyond anything we had ever done, and we had just come through a rocky period in the College’s history. Did I anticipate raising $7.7 million more than our original goal? Yes. Or that it would take more than 5,000 visits with trustees, alumni, parents and friends all across the nation? Or that we would nearly triple the number of alumni making major gifts to their alma mater? I did not. But I am not at all surprised by the renewed spirit that this Campaign has instilled in this special College.

I am continuously impressed by the contributions of my fellow trustees and alumni, the faculty and friends who have made Eckerd their own, and the parents who want the best possible education for their students. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Leadership Committee of the Campaign, who provided much of the direction, inspiration and momentum necessary to surpass our goal and raise nearly $83 million. Please stand and be recognized as I call your names: Bud Risser, Martha Rudy Wallace and Jean Wittner. Thank you.

This Campaign is truly a milestone in the history of Eckerd College, and one that I am so grateful to have been a part of.

When Don Eastman asked me six years ago, in May of 2005, if I would serve as Chair of the Campaign, I said, "Yes, with one condition." And that was that Miles Collier agree to serve as Chair [of the Board of Trustees] throughout the Campaign. That was long before I knew that Miles and his wife Parker would make a $25 million challenge gift to get our Campaign off to a very fast start. The reason for my condition was my knowledge of the importance of strong leadership for the success of the Campaign and that historically, in the history of this College, trustees and former trustees have contributed more than 50 percent of the total gift income to this College. And in this Campaign, the trustees raised 65 percent. [Applause.]

There is no one at this reception who is more respected than Miles. His leadership as our Chairman and his demonstrated commitment to the success of Eckerd is universally recognized. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire Eckerd community, I want to express our gratitude to you, Miles, and ask all of you to join me in welcoming Miles to the podium.