WILLIAMSBURG, VA -- When you’ve been around as long as the College of William and Mary, it’s hard to imagine an unprecedented experience. But the business school changed that on April 25th with its announcement of a history-making faculty and staff campaign for the Mason School of Business programs and their new home, Alan B. Miller Hall.
The campaign raised over $545,000, exceeding its goal of $500,000. With 85% participation from faculty and staff, the accomplishment is unique in the history of the College and rare if not unique among schools of business and universities at large.
Co-chaired by Professors Larry Ring and Bud Robeson, the committee comprising faculty and staff surpassed the goal in less than 12 months.
Dean Lawrence B. Pulley commended the efforts of the supporters, explaining that the support was more than a gesture, but rather a strong endorsement of the business school and its mission.
“It is not the amount of the gift itself--though exceptional--that impresses and humbles me most; it is instead the fact and the symbolism of coming together in this way, locking arms with the likes of Chip Mason, Alan Miller, and our other partners, and investing personally and substantially in the future of the Mason School of Business and the College of William and Mary.”
Despite the College’s public status, greater private support is needed to sustain its educational mission. One example is the public-private funding partnership between the School and the College to pay for the $75-million Miller Hall, a 165,000 square foot facility located at the corner of Jamestown Road and Ukrop Way on the western side of the campus. The Mason School has nearly reached its goal of raising $50 million through private sources over the last six years.
In many ways the faculty-staff support underscores the School’s commitment to a personalized, experience-based business education. The gift is tangible evidence of the personal responsibility the faculty and staff take in this mission.
“Everyone who made a gift knew that Alan B. Miller Hall would be built without their contributions (construction began in October of 2006, before the campaign started) but they nonetheless wanted to stand tall and be recognized and to do their part to enable our continued progress and success,” Pulley added.
Members of the campaign committee were: Deborah Hewitt, John Merrick, Ellen Buck, Ritchie Geisel, Jeff Henley, Martha Howard, Kim Sperling, and Katharine Wiseman.
The financial support from the faculty and staff will extend the efforts of the College and the School in delivering innovative business education that responds to the competitive global business climate.
“William & Mary as a whole, and The Mason School of Business in particular, mean a great deal to Jim and me. We are delighted to be a part of such an innovative program which is so clearly centered on ethics and leadership in a global business environment. We believe the new building will raise an already outstanding program to an entirely new level, and we are happy to be able to contribute towards that goal,” said Professor Hewitt of her involvement along with her husband, Jim, who is also a professor at the School.
Undertaking the campaign was no small task for the campaign chairs, Robeson and Ring. Both had full teaching loads during the campaign and neither would consider themselves professional fundraisers. However the cause was well worth it.
“When Bud and I were handed the assignment we thought it might be ‘mission impossible’ because the Mason School had never had a tradition of faculty giving. But we were surprised in several ways. First, as we built a committee to manage the campaign we found that our colleagues were happy to join us. Nobody turned us down and all those we asked were willing to ask their faculty and staff colleagues for pledges. With more than 85 percent of the faculty and staff participating, mission impossible became mission accomplished,” said Ring.
Robeson agreed that the mission was well worth it.
“This outstanding commitment from our staff and faculty is a clear statement that we believe Miller Hall will be much more than a new academic facility – it is a home for our Mason School community that will support our continuing accomplishments,” said Robeson.