New Campaign Chairs Wonder, ‘Why stop now?’
October 3, 2011
When not at work or engaging alumni, parents and friends in First in America, Amy Nauiokas ’94 and Harry Harrison, shown here in their Manhattan home, enjoy horseback riding, winemaking and spending time with their five children, ages 2 to 15.
When the First in America campaign surpassed its $150-million goal ahead of schedule last spring, the Dickinson community celebrated with confetti drops, flash mobs and historical interpreters, but the college didn’t waste any time getting back to work. Before the last bits of confetti were swept from the floor, the Board of Trustees voted to extend First in America into a second phase that will raise an additional $150 million for the college.
For new campaign co-chairs Amy Nauiokas ’94 and Harry Harrison, that decision was a no-brainer. “The question isn’t, ‘Why extend the campaign?’ It’s, ‘Why not?’ ” says Nauiokas. “Why would we stop now when we’ve been so successful and we have so much more that we want to do together.”
The ease and speed of the decision to continue First in America, says Nauiokas, reflects a new level of confidence and momentum for Dickinson. “The changes on campus with the Rector Science Complex as well as the new scholarships and faculty chairs have motivated the entire community,” she explains. “Whereas six or seven years ago it might have just been the college’s leaders who were excited about the campaign and the future, now that energy has been picked up by faculty, staff, students and alumni. That’s huge.”
The change also was obvious to Harrison, Nauiokas’ husband. He was inspired to get more involved after accompanying her to several board meetings throughout the first phase of the campaign. “I’ve been very impressed with how the college has developed in the last few years,” he says. “Dickinson is a great success story.”
“With its focus on the liberal arts and interdisciplinary study, Dickinson has always been a school that speaks to the whole student,” says Nauiokas. “The second phase of the campaign takes that one step further by enhancing the entire student experience—both inside and outside the classroom.”
Though the campaign will continue to focus on scholarships and faculty development, Phase II will turn the next page in Dickinson’s success story by also raising funds for athletics and residential-life facilities improvements aligned with Strategic Plan III.
As they engage Dickinson alumni, parents and friends in the campaign, Nauiokas and Harrison won’t be working together for the first time. The couple met at Barclays Capital in 2004, when Nauiokas was head of global e-commerce and Harrison was head of rates trading.
“We work quite well together,” says Harrison. “We were able to get quite a lot accomplished, and I’m excited about what we can do for Dickinson.”
Since leaving Barclays in 2008, Nauiokas has launched several entrepreneurial projects, including a venture-capital firm, a film and theatre production company and a nonprofit focused on combating child obesity. Her entrepreneurial leaning, in fact, is partly what drove Nauiokas to take the lead in First in America’s next phase.
“One of the reasons I wanted to get more involved in the campaign is that even with Dickinson’s significant history, there’s a certain entrepreneurial spirit that’s been alive the last few years,” she says. “And that’s exciting to be a part of.”
Harrison, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Warwick and his master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, agrees, noting that Dickinson gives donors the opportunity to make a more significant impact than some wealthier and more prestigious institutions.
“Schools like Cambridge have almost a self-sustaining pool of funds, which attracts the same kinds of individuals year after year as supporters and students,” says Harrison. “I think the story at Dickinson is much more exciting. There’s the opportunity here to make a real difference.”
The difference Nauiokas and Harrison hope to see during the next several years goes beyond simply adding $150 million. While the first phase of the campaign was subtitled “fulfilling our destiny,” the new co-chairs are hopeful that the next phase helps Dickinson own that destiny.
“The first phase of the campaign was about putting us on the map,” says Nauiokas. “Now we’re clearly competing for students with a new, more prestigious peer group. So this next phase is about emerging as a leader among this new peer group and moving to the next level.”