Record Fundraising Year Enables University Growth

Steve ScarpaNovember 22, 20224min
11-5-2022: Wesleyan University Homecoming Weekend

Professor of Music Jane Alden’s sacred music class will go to Dublin in Spring 2023 to immerse themselves in the music scene there, meeting with composers and hearing concerts that aren’t available in the United States.

First Things First, a program that supports first generation and low-income students, is expanding so that more than 70 first generation/low-income students are now connected with mentors and resources that will support them throughout their time at Wesleyan.

The Shapiro Distinguished Writers in Residence program brings noteworthy writers to Wesleyan to both share their expertise in intimate classes and workshops, and to give them a fertile space to cultivate their own creativity.

These programs are just a few of the initiatives, which include scholarships and grants, made possible because of the University’s recent fundraising success. More than 8,600 donors, the vast majority of whom were alumni, committed $90.9 million during the 2021-22 fiscal year to support these kinds of opportunities, a 36 percent increase over the previous year’s contributions. Last year’s performance continues an upward trend in giving, showing a 70 percent increase over the average of the past three years.

“We are humbled by the support the Wesleyan family has shown. This success demonstrates what we can do when we come together as a community. It reflects the passion that people have for Wesleyan and for what the University can accomplish,” said Frantz Williams Jr. ’99, vice president for advancement.

In an environment where the cultivation of equity and inclusion is a fundamental principle, Wesleyan is committed to making sure students from all backgrounds have a chance at a transformative education. To that end, raising money to increase financial aid continues to be one of the University’s highest priorities. Of the new commitments raised last year, more than $14 million was to support helping students afford Wesleyan.

The money raised also supports academic programs like the new African Scholars program, summer experience grants for students, athletics, facilities like the construction of the new Public Affairs Center, and the University’s operating budget. “Those gifts help the University enhance our distinctive educational program and offer greater access to a Wesleyan education,” Williams said.

So, when Roman Utkin, an assistant professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, takes his “Moscow/Berlin: Dreamworld and Catastrophe” class to Berlin to marinate in the city’s atmosphere this spring, it will be because of the generosity of a community that has embraced Wesleyan’s adventurous educational ethos.

“The opportunities Wesleyan can offer students are stunning,” said Roger Mathew Grant, dean of the arts and humanities. “The resources available for civic engagement, for engaging in unique research alongside faculty, and for cultivating creative practice go a long way towards helping young people lead rich and fulfilling lives.”

As the new Public Affairs Center reaches completion, as students fan out across the country and the world on transformative educational experiences thanks to grants, as scholars from Africa find a place at Wesleyan, the future of the University is bright. “Last year’s success helps every facet of the University,” Williams said.