Gifts to Occidental Set New Record
Occidental College raised a record $25.7 million in gifts in 2006-07, reaching record heights for a third consecutive year and marking a decade of steady growth that has seen overall giving increase by more than 300 percent.
The 2006-07 giving total surpassed last year’s previous record of $21.1 million by a large margin, thanks in part to an $8.7 million bequest from the late Marie S. and John Parke Young of Pasadena, members of a distinguished family associated with Occidental since its founding in 1887.
The number of Occidental alumni making gifts has seen similar growth, rising from 35 percent in 1997-98 to 44 percent in 2006-07. That increase stands in marked contrast to a nationwide decline in the percentage of alumni making gifts since 2000-01, according to the Council for Aid to Education. Giving to Occidental’s Alumni Fund has grown threefold since 1997-98, from $1.17 million to $3.72 million in 2006-07 – a new record.
Records also were set last year in the Parents Fund and the Senior Gift, in which 89 percent of seniors made a donation to the College.
In recognition of this steady growth, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education awarded Occidental a 2007 Circle of Excellence Award for overall improvement in fundraising over the past three years. Occidental was one of only five liberal arts colleges so honored this year.
“I think we’ve built a sturdy platform from which even loftier financial ambitions can be launched,” said Jon Keates, vice president for institutional advancement. “Through the continued engagement of Occidental alumni, parents, and friends, there is little doubt that these ambitions will be realized.”
Occidental’s endowment also reached record levels in 2006-07, rising to $377 million by June 30 – a gain of $97 million, or 35 percent, in just two years.
“With the careful investment management of the board of trustees, a strong stock market, and many endowed gifts, we have had another good year,” said Occidental President Susan Prager. “Continuing to build the endowment is one of our top goals, particularly in light of the fact that there are now at least eight other top-ranked liberal arts colleges with endowments that exceed $1 billion.”
While the recent volatility in the stock market will cause the value of the endowment to dip, it is not expected to have a material impact on Occidental’s operating budget, college officials said.