Boundless: ‘Berg’s latest fundraising campaign

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A flag advertising the Boundless campaign is displayed on academic row in front of Moyer Hall. Photo Editor Kira Bretsky '27.

Muhlenberg is “Boundless,” but what does that mean? Despite the fact that the Boundless campaign funds multiple campus initiatives, many members of the campus community are still left wondering what the Boundless campaign is and what it does. 

The Boundless campaign is a capital campaign, which is a massive campaign that is conducted over a set period of time and helps a nonprofit raise an enormous amount of money to increase its capacity and ability to pursue its mission. In Muhlenberg’s case, the money raised will be used to support the strategic priorities that were outlined in the “Muhlenberg Open Doors Strategic Plan for 2017-2022.” 

President Kathleen Harring Ph.D. said that the Boundless campaign will contribute to her goals for the school because her priorities are to “increase access to a Muhlenberg education and to provide high impact experiences for all students, no matter what their financial situation.” This, in addition to “hiring top faculty” and “state of the art learning experiences” are goals of Harring’s that are represented in the Boundless campaign priorities. The other campaign priorities include the Muhlenberg Annual Fund, Seegers Union expansion, the Muhlenberg Network, the building of Fahy Commons and the creation of endowed professorships. As to how the campaign priorities were decided, Harrining said that “students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees contribute[d] to the final plan. Muhlenberg carefully assessed its current needs and conducted a feasibility study to gauge support for these initiatives.” 

Some of the effects of the Boundless campaign can already be seen on campus, like the building of Fahy Commons and the Seegers expansion. When asked about whether the construction related to the campaign would hurt enrollment, Harring said that she believes it will not. She said, “Current and prospective students want learning and co-curricular spaces that are state of the art and that will maximize their experience across their four years and beyond. Even after graduation, Muhlenberg supports alumni through resources like the Career Center, a primary component of the Seegers Union expansion.” 

The campaign was formally launched to the public on Nov. 13, 2022 with the inauguration of Harring. However, at the date of the campaign launch, $71.2 million of the $111 million dollar goal had already been raised. This is because most capital campaigns start with a “quiet phase.” Victor D’Ascenzo, associate vice president for development, said that the quiet phase, which started on July 1, 2018, “is a common strategic step in building awareness of the campaign vision while engaging some of the College’s largest stakeholders to gain their support for that vision. The quiet phase creates the momentum on which the rest of the campaign is built and informs leadership about what is resonating with its various constituencies.” The College recently raised the campaign goal to $125 million after a significant donation of $15 million from the estate of Edward ‘42 and Lois Robertson. As of right now, Boundless: the Campaign for Muhlenberg, has raised $104 million, 84 percent of the new goal. 

According to D’Ascenzo, money being raised for the campaign, including the Robertson donation, “occurs through a combination of personal philanthropy from individuals (alumni, parents and friends of the College) and gifts and grants from corporations and foundations. These constituents work with advancement staff, the College president, the board of trustees and many campaign volunteers to find philanthropic opportunities that benefit everyone— students, faculty, staff and the donor.” 

When asked if there was anything that the Muhlenberg campus should know about the Boundless campaign, Harring said, “The momentum of the campaign powerfully demonstrates the confidence our donors have in the College and their desire to ensure that current and future generations experience both the transformative education we provide and the success they have achieved.” 

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