Colorado College received $44.7 million in gifts, pledges and estate commitments during its 2017 fiscal year, which concluded on June 30. During the year, 6,136 alumni gave to the college the highest participation since 2008. The total raised bests last year’s $42.2 million and represents the second year in a row giving to the college topped $40 million.

“More alumni, parents and friends are affirming their support for the college because they recognize the impact that a Colorado College education has on our students,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler. “These gifts strengthen our academic experience, make a CC education more financially accessible for promising students, and prepare students for lives of meaningful contribution to the world. We are making significant progress, but realizing our vision will require even more participation and concentrated fundraising efforts around strategic priorities.”

Tiefenthaler noted several developments during the last year that are giving alumni, parents, and other donors confidence about their investments in the college as it builds on its original approach to higher education.

  • On Aug. 24, 2016, the boards of Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC) approved an alliance between the institutions and the college assumed management responsibilities of the FAC on Sept. 1. On July 1, 2017, the FAC officially became the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College after the unanimous approval of a strategic plan by a joint leadership group, comprised of board members from both institutions.
  • The renovation of the college’s Charles L. Tutt Library, made possible by almost $20 million in gifts, is nearing completion. The library, which will become the only academic library of its size to achieve net-zero construction, will reopen for the 2017-18 academic year.
  • The construction of the college’s East Campus Community Housing, eight buildings that will provide housing for 154 Colorado College students, will open for the 2017-18 academic year.
  • Plans for the Edward J. Robson Arena, an on-campus hockey practice arena are underway. In October 2016, the college announced an $8 million gift from alumnus Edward J. Robson ’54 for the new facility, which the college plans to break ground on during the 2018-19 academic year. It will be located on the west side of Nevada Avenue between Dale and Cache La Poudre streets.

The college also has been focusing on raising funds for scholarships.

“Our goal is make a Colorado College education accessible to talented students from all backgrounds. Additional funding for scholarships will help us to enroll a higher percentage of students from lower- and middle-income families,” says Tiefenthaler, noting that 39 percent of the college’s student body received financial aid.

During the last two years, 31 donors have endowed scholarships for Colorado College students through the Endowed Scholarship Challenge 101, an effort that was launched last year by an anonymous graduate of the college. The donor dedicated $10 million and issued a challenge to other members of the college community to make their own gift or estate commitments. In fiscal year 2017, twice as many donors participated in the challenge than in the prior year.

The college’s focus on innovation also has resulted in significant accomplishments during the past year. Weekly innovation podcast salons were initiated, prominent innovators came to campus to speak to students, and the fifth annual Big Idea pitch competition took place, in which students competed for $50,000 in seed money. Additionally, a survey of young alumni was conducted to generate input for an innovation program strategic planning process. The strategic plan was presented to the college’s Board of Trustees this summer.

“We’re focusing on raising funds for these priorities and achieving success will require even more members of the Colorado College community to renew their support every year,” Tiefenthaler says. “Each and every gift to Colorado College propels us forward. The generosity of our alumni inspires us, and continued progress will require us to double down on our fundraising efforts.”