This spring represents an important inflection point in Lafayette’s trajectory. We just concluded our successful Live Connected, Lead Change campaign, surpassing our original goal to land at a final total of $425 million. Campaign gifts are already at work, paying for new buildings, professorships, scholarships, and programs. Other pledges will come in over the next several years, and the campaign’s impact will be felt for many years to come. I could not be more proud of the extraordinary commitment shown by the Lafayette community.
At the same time, we are still in the early stages of our ambitious Affordability and Distinction through Growth initiative. Since launching this effort in 2016, we have focused much of our fundraising on financial aid, through the President’s Challenge, and we will need to continue that effort in the coming years. Over the last two years we have been able to increase the College’s enrollment by 101 students, while also increasing both the quality and diversity of the student body. We are thrilled to see that, as planned, increasing financial aid is improving our ability to attract and enroll the very best students.
We are also well on our way to adding new facilities that will be needed to accommodate the additional 400 students and 40 faculty who will be added as part of the plan. Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center, our largest-ever capital project, is nearing completion, and early stages of construction are underway for a new mixed-use residential and retail building on McCartney Street.
This level of effort and activity will require strong commitment and sustained momentum over the coming years. This is a good moment to reaffirm our goals and reflect on our progress, to ensure that our community remains engaged and supportive in the months and years ahead. On campus, we have held open meetings to update faculty, staff, and students about the initiative. We dedicated a full afternoon at the February Board of Trustees meeting to a special retreat with trustees, faculty, and administrators to talk about progress we have made and challenges ahead. A faculty ad hoc committee will annually assess the Affordability and Distinction through Growth initiative as part of its role in the shared governance of the College.
At a recent meeting, I described the affordability initiative as being in its sophomore year. The fun and excitement of launching into a new direction is in the past, the work is starting to get a bit harder, and it can still seem like a long road to graduation. We’re not going to fall prey to “sophomore slump,” however! We are staying focused on our goal, which is to ensure the future strength of the College by developing resources needed to bring talented students of all income levels to Lafayette and provide them with an outstanding education.
I am excited to be on this journey with you, and I look forward to the years ahead.