Project $200 Million is a 21-year effort to raise $200 million before the turn of the century on Dec. 31, 2000. Hamilton President Eugene M. Tobin recently announced the college had reached its $200 million goal, nearly two years ahead of schedule.
"Not only does this achievement speak to the success of Hamilton's alumni," said Tobin, "but more importantly it points to the commitment and deep affection they have for their alma mater. I am in awe of the generosity of our alumni and friends, and we as a college are extraordinarily grateful. This goal was not easy to achieve." Project $200 Million is the brainchild of former Chairman of the Board William "Mac" Bristol, a 1943 graduate of Hamilton. Tobin said Bristol helped inspire a new level of philanthropy to the College at a critical point in its history.
To put this accomplishment in perspective, Hamilton's Vice President for Communications and Development Richard Tantillo said that at the time Hamilton committed itself to the $200 million goal, the college's endowment was nearly $41 million and total gifts were approximately $3.4 million per year. Today, the endowment has grown to $340 million and gifts to Hamilton in 1997-98 totaled $19.9 million.
As a result, in a recent study, Hamilton ranked sixth nationally when measured by the amount of money contributed by alumni per enrolled student. That placed Hamilton behind colleges such as California Institute of Technology, Amherst and Wellesley, but ahead of Harvard, Princeton and Yale.
"Hamilton alumni are among the most generous and most loyal in the country," said Tantillo. "They are committed to the success of this college on all levels."
The increased support over the past two decades has funded all facets of operations at the college, from new buildings, to lecture series, to student-faculty research opportunities. But Tobin said the top priority for this 21-year effort has been increasing the amount of money available for student financial aid.
"More than 20 percent of our budget is dedicated to keeping a Hamilton education accessible financially for those students whose academic performance in high school warrants admission," said Tobin. "We have been able to keep Hamilton affordable because of the success of Project $200 Million."
To reach this point, all gifts to Hamilton since Jan. 1, 1980, have been counted toward the $200 million goal. That includes contributions to the Annual Fund, as well as gifts to the 175th Anniversary Campaign (1983-86), The Campaign for the '90s (1990-94) and currently The New Century Campaign.
Hamilton will continue adding to the success of Project $200 Million and The New Century Campaign until their scheduled conclusions on Dec. 31, 2000, and June 30, 2001, respectively.