October 26, 2008    

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College President Anthony W. Marx has announced the $425 million Lives of Consequence comprehensive campaign (visit www.amherst.edu/campaign for more information) that seeks to extend the venerable liberal arts institution’s mission well into the future.

The campaign—which officially launched during Amherst’s Family Weekend, Oct. 24 to 26—will support the critically important role of financial aid, just as student need for aid is increasing. To strengthen teaching and student learning, the campaign will support investments in the size and scope of the faculty. And to better inform and inspire Amherst’s undergraduates, Lives of Consequence will support student research and service experiences, as well as the updating of academic facilities, including laboratories and the library.

“At a time when we are all facing some fierce economic headwinds, it is more critical than ever for us to lean into the wind and maintain Amherst’s commitment that all of our students—regardless of their ability to pay—have the opportunity to receive a top-notch liberal arts education,” said Marx. “Nothing could be more important than preparing this next generation of leaders to serve and improve a world that needs their help so much. No social investment could have a larger multiplying effect for our society.”

Although fundraising is central to the campaign, the college’s more than 20,000 alumni are also being urged to contribute in other ways, such as connecting with students through the Center for Community Engagement and the Career Center, as well as with one another through regional, on-campus and Web-based programming.

“At Amherst, we believe in the liberal arts and the compounding power of education,” explained campaign co-chair and Amherst Trustee Brian Conway ’80. “When our students graduate and leave campus to live lives of consequence, the investment pays off by impacting many, many others. Given the state of the country and world today, the need for Amherst—an institution that cultivates reasoned, educated decision makers—is greater than ever.” 

Lives of Consequence builds on the success and momentum of many of the college’s existing programs and initiatives, of course,” said Megan Morey, chief advancement officer and director of the initiative. “This effort will only further enable us to maintain our commitment to prepare the most promising students to become leaders in an increasingly complex global community.” The foundation of the campaign, she said, is the generous and sustained support of the Alumni and Parents’ Funds, with a combined goal of $60 million or 14 percent of the campaign total, while ongoing annual fund gifts of all sizes will give Amherst the financial sustenance to cover operating expenses related to the campaign initiatives during uncertain economic times. Continuing to nurture in alumni the tradition of giving is also a prime objective of Lives of Consequence; the college aims to secure at least 500 additional estate commitments and sustain its stellar alumni participation rate of 60 percent over the next five years, added Morey.

Amherst is already well on its way to reaching its fundraising goal. To date, the school has received more than $216 million from donors in support of its programs and initiatives. (The college’s last campaign was a $270 million effort that concluded in 2001.)

The name Lives of Consequence comes from the school’s mission statement, which reads, in part: “Amherst College educates men and women of exceptional potential from all backgrounds so that they may seek, value and advance knowledge, engage the world around them and lead principled lives of consequence.”

Founded in 1821, Amherst is a highly selective, coeducational liberal arts college with approximately 1,700 students from 46 states, the District of Columbia and 28 foreign countries. Consistently ranked among the nation’s best educational institutions, Amherst awards the B.A. degree in 37 different majors.

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