President Jones Announces $75 Million Fundraising Campaign

Dickinson College plans to raise $75 million in order to meet the full demonstrated need of future admitted students. President John E. Jones III ‘77, P’11 announced the effort, named “Change a Life – Change the World” on Facebook, YouTube, and the Dickinson College website on Nov 1. It is the first major step in Dickinson Forward, a wide-ranging initiative announced by the president this past summer.

During an interview with The Dickinsonian, Jones said the primary goal of the project is to “ensure that everyone who needs help has that aid available to them.”

The president also states that the $75 million threshold is “the most ambitious fundraising effort in college history.” Dickinson has already received $35 million towards the initiative, with the most significant donation coming from Washington D.C. attorney and real estate developer Samuel Rose ’58, who committed an additional $12.75 million to the existing Samuel Rose ’58 scholarship this year. 

Rose’s contributions have already helped more than 80 economically-disadvantaged students from urban areas to attend Dickinson. According to the college, since he introduced the Rose Scholarship in 2000, the percentage of first-generation students at the college has doubled and the percentage of students of color has quadrupled.

The donation areas that are highlighted by “Change a Life – Change the World” include need-based financial aid, merit-based financial aid, and aid for experiences at Dickinson. Donors can choose to designate funds for Dickinson Forward, study abroad opportunities, academic programming, scholarships, athletics, the Student Wellness fund, or the Emergency Response fund.

The choices given to donors are intentional, according to President Jones. He calls “Change a Life – Change the World” an “adaptive campaign,” based on “engaging with alumni about the types of scholarships they are interested in.” For this model to work, they say, “we need to constantly hear from alumni.” 

An additional measure of choice that the campaign encourages is the cohort scholarship model, which provides financial aid to students “based on their region or some other special affinity.” Dickinson recently announced the creation of the first such scholarship, the Reynolds Leadership Scholar Program, funded by Jennifer Ward Reynolds ’77 and her husband, George Reynolds. The Reynolds scholarship provides $40,000 per year to a select group of students who live in Maryland. Dickinson hopes that other alumni will follow suit and create cohort scholarships that “enhance the college’s recruiting efforts in select areas and demographics.”

In his announcement, Jones spoke of a “double impact” that donations to the “Change a Life – Change the World” program will have, as these donations not only benefit students receiving financial aid at the college, but also the world at large. He says, according to the Dickinson website, “by investing in this effort, you will change a student’s life…but you’ll also change the world, because four years after that student walks in through the doors of Old West, they walk out into the world, and Dickinson graduates don’t keep the benefits of this education to themselves.”

The website’s message to donors reveals a third potential impact as well. The college believes that this investment in need- and merit-based financial aid will allow Dickinson to “recruit top students and raise the academic profile of the college.” 

Though $75 million is an ambitious amount to raise, Dickinson’s administration believes that “with generosity from alumni and friends, we can meet our goal.”