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Eckerd College's $25 Million Collier Challenge Fulfilled

posted on 05/21/2010

Eckerd College donors have made gifts and pledges completely fulfilling the $25 million Campaign Challenge gift announced by Board of Trustees Chairman Miles Collier and his wife, Parker, of Naples, Fla., in May 2006. The Challenge matched all gifts and pledges of $25,000 or more to the priorities of Many Experiences, One Spirit: The Campaign for Eckerd College, which include the sciences, the arts, student life, and the College's endowment.

Many Experiences, One Spirit - The Campaign for Eckerd College

Eckerd Trustee Helmar Nielsen made the consummate commitment, pledging $500,000 to establish The Lloyd W. Chapin Faculty Development Program in honor of Dr. Lloyd W. Chapin, who is retiring June 30 after 31 years as the Eckerd's Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Since 2006, donors have made gifts and pledges to the Campaign totaling more than $73 million toward the $80 million goal. The Campaign, which has as its centerpiece the $30 million Center for Molecular and Life Sciences building, is scheduled to close in June 2011.

"We knew the Collier Challenge would provide momentum and encouragement, but we did not anticipate the degree to which that extraordinary gift would inspire the College's alumni, parents and friends to support our Campaign initiatives," said Eckerd President Donald R. Eastman III. "With more than a year left in the Campaign, we are well-positioned to fulfill our Campaign goal, and the generosity and foresight of the Colliers was an immensely important motivator."

In his original announcement of the Challenge in 2006, Mr. Collier said he and his wife "offer this gift to advance Eckerd College, strengthening and deepening the character of this place, this place that transforms lives, that transformed your lives and, indeed even at our hardened and advanced age, touches and transforms the lives of we who do not call her alma mater."

Through the $25 million Collier Challenge:
- 85 new scholarship and program endowments have been or will be established, including endowments for professorships and student study abroad scholarships. Many existing endowments also have been enhanced;
- Every initiative of the Campaign received significant support;
- The number of $25,000 commitments by alumni and parents doubled in less than four years;
- The level of participation in the Campaign by faculty and staff surpassed all historical records, with 97 percent of faculty and 76 percent of staff making commitments;
- Donors leveraged their own matches to inspire significant support for the Wireman Chapel, the Class of '68 endowment and other Campaign initiatives;
- Donors' lead gifts will fund The Pruitt Center for Ceramic Arts and Sculpture and the GO Pavilion, a 10,000 square-foot outdoor recreation facility, which will greatly enhance academic programs and student life offerings.

"This extraordinarily generous gift provided incredible momentum, and it was tremendously rewarding to work with the many other supporters of Eckerd College who answered the Colliers' challenge by making commitments to the Campaign," said Matthew S. Bisset, Vice President for Advancement. "Our largest remaining initiative is our Center for Molecular and Life Sciences, which will bolster our popular and rigorous programs in the natural sciences."

Mr. Collier joined Eckerd College's Board of Trustees in 1988, served as chairman from 1992 to 1995, and has again been serving as chairman since July 2000. Mr. Collier is managing partner of Naples-based Collier Enterprises.

Eckerd's News Center includes campaign announcements including gifts from local residents Tom and Mary James, Jean Giles Wittner, Helmar Nielsen, Martha Rudy Wallace, Bud and Fran Risser, Jeff and Sherry Fortune and the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation.

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