May 1 kick-off for Augustana’s great campaign
Campaign co-chair Chip Hammersmith '73
“You have to dream big in order to achieve great things,” Augustana President Steve Bahls said as he described the largest comprehensive campaign in Augustana’s history. Reporters from seven Quad-City area media outlets took notes as President Bahls provided detail on the campaign’s capital, endowment and annual operations components during the May 1 news conference that began the public phase of Authentically Augustana: A Call to Action.
President Bahls began that day with an 8 a.m. meeting with the editorial board of the Rock Island Argus newspaper, part of an effort that resulted in strong endorsements from both of the area’s daily newspapers. The Argus editorial of Friday, May 2 (“Authentically Augustana: Answering Call to Action”) noted the college has long been a good neighbor:This fundraising drive will help it become an even better one. Others already have made a significant investment toward making that happen. The college board’s 40 trustees, for example, committed an amazing $33.6 million, which represents a lifelong financial commitment to the college. Others, such as Deere & Co., also have been generous.
“The gifts,” Mr. Bahls said, “have been humbling.”
And well-earned. For more reasons than we have space to list here, a better Augustana College means a better Rock Island and a better Quad Cities.
After the news conference, President Bahls joined members of Augustana’s Board of Trustees, development office staff and alumni from the Quad Cities and throughout the Midwest for a kickoff dinner at Rock Island’s Abbey Station, the former railroad depot just north of campus. The dinner was attended by more than 200 guests, who in addition to celebrating initiatives to be funded through the $100-million campaign also learned of Augustana’s progress toward that goal.
“I have some good news,” said trustee and campaign co-chair Chip Hammersmith ’73. “As of today we have raised $81.4 million against this $100-million goal.” The news was met with thunderous applause by the dinner guests. Hammersmith and campaign cochair Murry Gerber ’75 both cited the strength of Augustana’s strategic plan as the reason trustees and other lead donors have responded so generously to the campaign. Gerber also spoke of the challenge ahead. “The final 20 percent is the hardest portion of any fundraising campaign,” said Gerber. “We’ll need every dollar, every donor, to reach our goal.”