Haverford College Receives Seven-Figure Gift From Anonymous Donor For Financial Aid, Diversity, And Sustainability
The comprehensive gift will support operating needs, endowed scholarships, and a presidential discretionary fund for strategic initiatives such as diversity and sustainability.
President Kim Benston announced today the receipt of a seven-figure donation, from an anonymous graduate of the College, to support financial aid (through three new scholarships), presidential initiatives, and general operations at Haverford. The gift is the second seven-figure contribution from this donor to the Lives that Speak: The Campaign for Haverford, a $225 million campaign that publicly launched in October 2014. The donor’s support underscores key areas of the College’s most recent strategic plan, The Plan for Haverford 2020, which the Campaign will underwrite.
Haverford is able to remain a leading undergraduate institution in part due to the diverse and selective composition of its student body, all of whom are admitted on the basis of academic and other merits, regardless of their ability to pay. The gift’s three scholarships will support our promise to provide financial aid to all academically-qualified students with demonstrated need. Doing so fosters the creation of a richly diverse student body, allowing the College to be as inclusive and accessible to as many qualified students as possible. Last year, approximately 50% of students received some level of financial aid from the College, and the average annual grant was over $43,000 per student. At Haverford, then, financial aid is essential to furthering the pedagogical goal of a robust and diverse learning environment.
In addition to scholarships, the anonymous gift will allow President Benston to apply funds toward strategic initiatives such as diversity, sustainability, and other aspects of community-building for the College.
"Diversity is a necessary component of a rigorous learning community," President Benston remarked. "Only through engagement with people representing different ideas, experiences, attributes, and talents can individuals become fully educated and prepared for citizenship in a globalized world marked by difference. This theme also has an impact on how the College will hire and retain diverse faculty and staff, admit and support students from all economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, build community genuinely premised on equality, and engage with communities beyond the campus."
Specific initiatives likely to receive support from this fund include ways to enhance the multicultural climate on campus recommended by the Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Community.
In addition to diversity, the gift will support presidential discretionary funds for strategic initiatives applied to sustainability initiatives at Haverford. These span environmental sustainability as well as the broader context of sustainability of programs and generational equity.
Founded as a perpetual institution, the College must wisely steward its assets in an unknowable future. President Benston explained, "We recognize that faculty and staff time is precious, and we must be mindful when building programs that they require long-term labor, creativity, and oversight. We must keep Haverford affordable to students and families so they do not mortgage their futures in order to receive a great education. All we do for Haverford today must make us a stronger learning community tomorrow, a community even better able to play a productive role in society."
The donor is also keen to support environmental sustainability at the College. Jesse Lytle, Haverford’s chief of staff and chief sustainability officer notes, "The College takes seriously the question of how we can contribute to a reduction or mitigation of human-induced climate change. Haverford’s institutional footprint is modest in the face of global environmental challenges. But, we are committed to fostering engagement with issues of sustainability in and out of the classroom and to modeling sustainable practices as an institution." Initiatives likely to benefit from the gift include the continued development of the campus as a "living laboratory," including an on-campus food loop spanning a student-run farm, a new teaching greenhouse, and the Dining Center; and various forms of community engagement around greenhouse gas mitigation.