The Turning Point
An Overview of the First in America Campaign
Dickinson College is at a turning point. After seven years of spectacular momentum and success, the College is poised to move to the very forefront of American higher education. In 2000, Dickinson unveiled a distinctively Dickinsonian style of liberal-arts education—global, useful and engaged. In doing so, the College recommitted itself to its historic mission, born out of the American Revolution, to educate citizen leaders who would build and lead a new nation. Dickinson articulated its vision to be a permanent top-tier national liberal-arts college educating a new kind of global citizen-leader. The results of this clarified vision and purpose have made Dickinson College the higher-education story of the decade.
Repeatedly recognized by experts as a college doing things right in an era of unprecedented challenge for all of higher education, the last seven years have been extraordinary both in accomplishment and in the speed by which gains have been made. Cited for its leadership in global education, admissions, renewed fiscal health, and endowment growth, the College has outperformed its peers by ever-wider margins and well beyond what might be expected as normal increases in any given year. Dickinson has become a “hot” college and for all the right reasons.
Clearly, the public's understanding that Dickinson is a major player in higher education with an important contribution to make is rapidly growing. Students, parents and high school counselors tell us one reason Dickinson is now exceedingly appealing to so many talented students is that we communicate clearly and unequivocally who we are, what we intend for our students and what perspective we wish their lives to embody after Dickinson as they engage the world. Now the College must make a truly transformational leap if we are permanently to embed the remarkable achievements of the last seven years into the fabric and future of Dickinson College.
The magic of our efforts is that they are based on a legacy bestowed to us by our founder Dr. Benjamin Rush—a signer of the Declaration of Independence—and the College's earliest benefactors, Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, John Dickinson and James Madison who invested their personal fortunes in our College to advance leadership for a fledgling, yet promising nation. Benjamin Rush intended Dickinson to pioneer a new direction in undergraduate education. Our destiny to become, in Rush's words, “First in America ,” is now within our grasp. To complete the vision of our founder and his friends, all of whom built this country—few opportunities to engage such a big idea come along in a lifetime.
As Dickinsonians we have always known that our College is a very special place with advantages that few, if any, other colleges can replicate. Yet our founder's ambition for Dickinson seems often to have been tantalizingly just beyond reach.
This is our moment to be idealistic in the best sense of the word—to leave our College better than we found it. We are resolved to get it right, and that will take new financial strength in key places. It is time for Dickinsonians to alter permanently the way in which we care for our College and the way we capitalize its assets, which are truly our collective assets.
Your fellow Dickinsonians invite you to work in spirit alongside Dr. Rush, Jefferson, Marshall, Dickinson and Madison to secure a distinctively Dickinsonian liberal-arts education to respond to our times. A capital campaign with a goal of $150 million dollars, over half of which has been raised, is underway and is described fully here.
Continued unprecedented success rests with us. Together, we are the right people at the right time. Together, we can make Dickinson “First in America.”
Next: Global. Useful. Engaged.
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