In my opinion: I have faith in the future, do you?

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Christopher Wiseman ’88, Ph.D., Vice President of Institutional Advancement

”The Maroon” recently ran a front-page article on Faith in the Future, the first comprehensive fundraising campaign for Loyola University New Orleans since Bill Clinton was the U.S. president. (Yes, it’s been a while.) As Loyola’s vice president for institutional advancement, I appreciated the prominent coverage — Oscar Wilde was right when he said being talked about beats the alternative. And yet, I want to share some updated and additional information about the campaign.

I ask Maroon readers to think back: Where were you in 2011, and what have you been up to since then? I can tell you what Loyola alumni and other generous donors have been doing: they have been supporting your work during that time with the greatest outpouring of generosity in Loyola’s history. Over the past five years, Loyola donors have committed $65.3 million in gifts and pledges to the Faith in the Future campaign, ensuring that this campaign is the most successful one in Loyola history.

For some context, please consider Loyola’s most recent campaign, Thresholds, which ended as a great success in 1999 and helped to build our wonderful J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library. With gifts coming in at almost double the pace of the earlier campaign, Faith in the Future’s private gift total thus far already exceeds Thresholds’ completed campaign total by $31 million.

Those dollars are already enhancing what we do at Loyola. Loyola’s Environment Program received a gift of $1 million to fund its ongoing work across several disciplines and departments. Many departments in the College of Arts and Sciences have new endowment income dollars they can depend on year in and year out.

Using Faith in the Future dollars, the College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development is changing the way New Orleans does business innovation. With private gift support, Loyola law students are assisting law clinic clients, training in the skills they need for future law practice and receiving financial assistance to prepare for the bar exam.

Monroe Hall’s renovated studios, classrooms and laboratories are also partly funded by Faith in the Future donors. Loyola’s star resident artist, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, joined Loyola only because generous donors shared our vision. The University Sports Complex’s weight room is being renovated, and our new First NBC Court will begin taking shape this summer — thanks to gifts from donors.

Hundreds of students on campus enjoy scholarships funded by private donors, making their current lives less stressful and their future lives less burdened by debt. The campaign’s stated goal for scholarship gifts was $20 million; we will pass that goal in the coming days, long before the end of the campaign.

We continue to receive new campaign gifts — most notably, two recent $1 million gifts to the Tom Benson Jesuit Center, as well as another $1 million gift for the new Pan-American Life Student Success Center.

On many days, I am encouraged most of all, not by the impact of donor gifts, but by this: almost 300 volunteers are working weekly to seek new gifts and help us exceed the $100 million goal. On Loyola’s Board of Trustees, visiting committees, alumni boards and campaign committees, people who care about Loyola are doing the challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable, work of finding new friends to support Loyola’s mission and soliciting gifts for Faith in the Future.

In the end, I hope you can remember all this on a difficult night in the library or the lab, on the court, in the studio or in front of a computer. Loyola volunteers, alumni, family and friends strive every day to support what you do through the Faith in the Future campaign. And through your successes on campus and out in the community, you give us all true faith in the future.

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