"Nelson Henderson, an otherwise obscure Canadian farmer, is reputed to have shared with his son the following sage advice: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Giving to others without expecting something in return lies at the heart of the world’s great religions and philosophies. It is an aspiration that underscores the inherent connectedness of the human race: the fact that none of us is an island, that we are mutually dependent on one another, that we owe much to those who have come before us, and have a responsibility to those who come after. It is, as such, a value that all of us would do well to remember—and to practice—as we go about our everyday lives, in whatever endeavor we may be engaged."
It also happens to be an apt description of what more than 14,000 Drewids accomplished during our recently completed One And All campaign.
Perhaps because ours is “the University in The Forest,” I immediately recalled Henderson’s simple yet profound metaphor as I perused initial drafts of the articles included in this special issue of Drew Magazine. I read with admiration and gratitude the stories of the many new trees planted by our alumni, trustees, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends in the larger community. Their generous gifts—given without any expectation that they would ever receive the scholarships they established, or take classes in the buildings they renovated, or study in the programs they piloted—added up to a remarkable $85.4 million, helping us surpass our One And All goal by more than $5 million.
Drew is clearly a school on the rise in a host of important respects: enrollment and retention have dramatically improved and longawaited capital improvements on campus—such as the new Commons—have been completed. We have added programs that both leverage our enviable geographic location and help us better prepare our students for the real world. It’s little wonder, then, that Drew is considered a “hot” school by one major national publication and, according to another, is one of only 50 “colleges that create futures.”
One should definitely add the success of the One And All campaign to our growing list of recent achievements. Indeed, so much of our progress during the past few years would not have been possible without the significantly increased support of our dedicated alumni and friends. Your individual and collective investments in the University have bolstered the unique offerings and benefits of a Drew education for current and future students—and have raised the value of a Drew diploma for those of you who had the exceptionally good fortune to graduate from here. In the pages that follow, we recognize all of those who gave to Drew as part of the One And All campaign, and highlight some of our most spectacular and emblematic successes. For reasons of space, we couldn’t include a story on every tree that was planted during this campaign, and so I’d like to provide a quick snapshot of just how much we accomplished:
- The establishment of 38 new scholarships, 16 new student research fellowships and 12 new internship funds, supporting students across all three schools, as well as the creation of three new faculty fellowships and one junior professorship in mathematics.
- The long-overdue transformation of the University Center into the Ehinger Center, creating a new hub of student activity on campus.
- The equally long-overdue renovation, expansion and modernization of the Hall of Sciences, the University’s primary facility dedicated to teaching and learning in the STEM fields.
- The building of the stately Kean Reading Room in what was the original lobby of the Library, providing a fully mediated space that serves as one of the most popular study spots on campus and honors the legacy of one of Drew’s most beloved former presidents.
- The launching of the Baldwin Honors program; the creation of Drew’s fourth dedicated New York City Semester (on media and communications); the expansion of the Center for Civic Engagement; the conversion of environmental studies into a full-fledged major program of study; and the initiation of an arts-across-the-curriculum initiative. These are impressive and inspiring accomplishments, but they don’t end there. During the One And All campaign, we also set new records for annual giving, increased our undergraduate alumni participation rate by seven percentage points and added more than $31 million to the endowment.
Possibly our most notable achievement, however, was that this campaign very much lived up to its name. One And All was a truly egalitarian enterprise. Though we received some big and extraordinary gifts, none topped the $3.25 million mark. Unlike most major fundraising campaigns with similarly ambitious goals, there were no eightfigure gifts during One And All. This was not a campaign focused on and led by the 1%; our success was, instead, the result of the collective dedication and leadership of the 99%. The $85.4 million we secured came from exactly 14,001 unique donors. This, in and of itself, makes One And All a rare and truly historic campaign—and it sets the stage for even greater success in the near future.
Words cannot fully convey what One And All has meant to this University and to its continued growth and prosperity. On behalf of our faculty, staff and students, I offer you my deepest gratitude for all you have contributed to Drew. The Forest flourishes—once again—because of the many trees you have planted.—MaryAnn Baenninger