‘Gonzaga Will’ Fundraising Campaign Tops Goal, Raises More Than $355 Million for University’s Future

Gonzaga celebrated the milestone during an event on campus Wednesday, Sept. 18. GU photo
President Thayne McCulloh shared the good news during a campus celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 19. GU photo

September 20, 2018

Effort ‘Transformational’ Thanks to More Than 40,000 Donors

Gonzaga News Service
SPOKANE, Wash. — It was just seven years ago when Thayne McCulloh, Gonzaga University’s 26th president, challenged the Gonzaga community to raise $250 million in the largest fundraising campaign in University history. The completion of Gonzaga Will: The Campaign for Our Future was celebrated this week having shattered that goal thanks to the generosity of more than 40,000 donors.

“When we began this journey, we understood that this campaign would serve as the transformational force for the institution, and that we must turn a corner to remain competitive in the higher education landscape,” President McCulloh said. “I am so proud to announce that in true Zag fashion, not only did we meet our Campaign goal of $250 million, but we far surpassed it, raising $355.4 million from more than 40,000 donors. This will change the way our institution operates and will allow us to do even more to keep Gonzaga competitive and thriving.”

President Thayne McCulloh shares the good news in a campus celebration. GU photo
Gonzaga  hosted a campus celebration to mark the milestone. GU photo.
More than $110 million, nearly one-third of the total raised, is going directly into scholarship support, with 284 new student scholarships having been created. This focus on scholarship has resulted in the most academically strong and diverse classes in Gonzaga history. The funds also support new academic programs, new endowed professorships and other faculty positions, and opportunities for continued global engagement. Finally, funds toward new and improved spaces on campus have made the following facilities possible:
  • The Stevens Center (indoor tennis and golf facility)
  • John J. Hemmingson Center
  • Della Strada Jesuit Community
  • Volkar Center for Athletic Achievement
  • Boone Avenue Retail Center
  • Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center (opening in the spring of 2019)

Throughout this campaign, President McCulloh has shared that Gonzaga was a place called to live and learn and teach and explore, not comfortably at the center of the culture, but at the margins — the places that require courage. 

“I have shared that we were a place becoming. That still holds true today. A place becoming is a place worth investing in — worth being a part of,” he said, noting Gonzaga will continue to face challenges ahead in an increasingly competitive environment, constantly pursuing its mission to prepare students to become leaders for others.

“The work we do is arguably the most important work going on in the world today. We are attracting academically competent, generous and kind students. It is a sacred work we do; and yet, it is challenging work,” he said.

Focus Now on Fundraising for ISE Facility, Endowment Growth 

As students today align their passions with their purpose, President McCulloh said Gonzaga must now focus on continuing to raise funds for the Integrated Science and Engineering (ISE) facility, which will integrate the College of Arts and Sciences with the School of Engineering and Applied Science — providing crucial new labs, research space, and collaborative learning options.

The highest priority for Gonzaga’s future though, he said, is continued growth of the endowment to reduce financial barriers for students.

“Our Scholarship Promise to our students and their families is one from which we will not waver,” President McCulloh said. “By building an endowment worthy of Gonzaga, we can offer essential financial aid to the exceptional students that are and will be Zags. I am confident that our community will respond to these remaining needs because of our shared commitment to prepare students to thrive in the complex world for which they are so greatly needed.”

Gonzaga’s donors to the Gonzaga Will campaign hailed from all 50 U.S. states, most of its territories, and 21 foreign countries. The average age of the Gonzaga donors was 50. More than half of those who contributed to the campaign were first-time benefactors. Comparatively, Gonzaga’s last fundraising campaign, which ended in 2005, raised $148 million for new buildings, renovations and student scholarships.

President McCulloh expressed his profound gratitude to the more than 40,000 campaign donors worldwide.

“Because of you, Gonzaga has secured for itself an opportunity. Our reputation in higher education is growing stronger, our footprint growing deeper. Our future depends on students and their families saying, ‘Yes, we want to be here.’ And because of you, more families than ever can realize their dream of becoming Zags. On behalf of the entire university, thank you. Our will is strong. With your support, it’s even stronger.”

For more information, please contact Sarah Schwering, senior director of marketing and communications, at (509) 313-5993 or schwering@gonzaga.edu. For more information about the campaign, visit www.gonzagawill.com/.