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Lafayette alumni, parents, and friends have responded so generously during Lafayette’s current fundraising campaign that the campaign’s goal of $165 million has been surpassed by $18 million nine months ahead of schedule.

The campaign is enabling Lafayette to strengthen academic excellence through new and renovated facilities and other initiatives.

“Lafayette has entered the 21st century in a position of unprecedented strength,” said President Arthur J. Rothkopf, informing Lafayette trustees Oct. 21 that gifts and pledges to the campaign total $183 million. “The present and the future have never been brighter for our college. Lafayette is on the move, and the trajectory is emphatically upward.”

Recognized nationally for academic excellence, Lafayette is classified as one of the 58 most academically competitive colleges and universities in the United States in Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges and Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges. The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2001 says, “With a growing focus on academics, Lafayette is well on its way to being considered one of the finest liberal arts colleges on the East Coast.” This national reputation helped Lafayette enroll one of its academically strongest incoming classes ever this fall while being more selective in admissions for the fourth consecutive year.

This is the second time since the campaign was publicly launched in October 1997 that the goal has been surpassed. The original goal of $143 million was exceeded in October 1999, prompting the trustees to increase the goal to $165 million. The campaign will continue until its scheduled conclusion June 30, 2001.

Campaign-funded projects currently under way include construction of the Hugel Science Center for chemistry, biochemistry, and physics; and the Williams Visual Arts Building, a high-tech art studio and gallery complex on North Third Street, where the Lafayette campus meets downtown Easton. The arts complex will open this fall and the science center is due for completion next spring.

Lafayette is adding $30 million to its endowment for student financial aid and earmarking significant additional funds for new faculty chairs and other support for faculty and curriculum development; more opportunities for collaborative student/faculty research; community outreach; career services, and equipment for science and engineering.

During the final months of the campaign, the focus will be on completing the funding for three specific initiatives: the expansion and modernization of Skillman Library, adding to financial aid, and increasing support for intercollegiate athletics.

To enhance student life outside the classroom, Lafayette has constructed the Allan P. Kirby Sports Center, which opened in the spring, and Keefe Hall, a residence hall that opened last year. It has completed renovations of P T Farinon House and Conway House, two residence halls for first-year students, and is currently renovating its largest residence hall, South College.

Lafayette recently renovated Kirby Hall of Civil Rights and spent more than $2 million to equip classrooms across campus with the latest in instructional technology.

Scheduled to begin soon are a transformation of Alumni Memorial Gymnasium to house psychology and neuroscience programs; a major renovation of engineering facilities, including Alumni Hall of Engineering, Dana Hall, and Dana Engineering Laboratory; and construction of the Robert E. Pfenning ’32 and Hazel E. Pfenning Alumni Center.

Campaign contributions include a gift of $32.5 million from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Morristown, N.J., the largest gift ever received by a college, university, or other non-profit organization in the Lehigh Valley. The Kirby Foundation is the family foundation of the Fred Morgan Kirby family, which has been prominent in the life of Lafayette for nearly a century. Seven family members are alumni, four have served as trustees, and three received honorary doctorates from Lafayette.

Other major gifts include:

  • $12 million from Walter Oechsle ’57 and Christa Oechsle
  • $10 million from Charles E. Hugel ’51 and Cornelia F. Hugel
  • A bequest in excess of $4 million from the estate of Robert E. Pfenning ’32 and Hazel E. Pfenning
  • A challenge gift of $3 million from Edward A. Jesser Jr. ’39
  • A major gift of an undisclosed amount from Harry V. Keefe, Jr.
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