What $350 million can do for Mines
From his third-floor office window in the historic Guggenheim Hall at the center of campus, President M.W. Scoggins can see the future:
To the south, prospective students and visiting alumni will be greeted at a sleek new Welcome Center. To the east, a state-of-the-art academic and research building will offer future physicists and engineers new labs and classrooms. To the north, at a new athletics complex, students, faculty and alumni will come together to cheer the Orediggers to victory. On evenings and weekends, the university will bustle with life, with more students living on campus than ever before, expanded recreational programs, and more diverse cultural and intellectual opportunities to complement Mines’ highly technical curriculum.
And thanks to a robust financial aid program, funded in part by grateful alumni paying it forward, the student body will be known for being academically—not necessarily economically—elite.
“I like simple visions,” says Scoggins, who came to Mines in 2006 after spending 35 years with Mobil and ExxonMobil. “Our vision is to transform Mines into a globally recognized top-tier research university, and we’re well on our way to achieving that goal.”
Meeting a global need
To help realize this vision, Mines launched the Transforming Lives campaign in September, aimed at raising $350 million in private philanthropic and nongovernmental research support. Priorities include student scholarships, faculty positions, enrichment and outreach initiatives, K-12 and international partnerships, and several capital projects.
Along with the monetary goal, the campaign also has a less tangible objective: to broaden the school’s circle of support by cultivating a lasting culture of philanthropy. “We want to permanently expand the world of donors who are interested in helping Mines,” says Scoggins.
In an age of dwindling state funds, private support is more critical than ever; while undergraduate enrollment at Mines has increased 24 percent over the last five years, state funding per resident undergraduate student has declined 34 percent.
To offset the loss in revenue, Mines has had to increasingly rely on tuition and fees, which in turn has put more pressure on financial aid resources as the university seeks to make good on its commitment that all qualified students will be able to attend Mines, regardless of their ability to pay.
Funding for capital projects has been similarly hit. “It wasn’t too long ago that states were providing two-thirds of the funding for public higher education, and parents and students paid the other third. That has more than flip-flopped,” says Scoggins.
In his meetings with potential donors, Brian Winkelbauer, executive vice president for university advancement, often discusses the big-picture reasons to support Mines, which apply to a broader audience than the student and alumni communities.
“The world needs Mines,” he says. “Global population is expected to reach 9 billion over the next 40 years. That kind of growth results in some pretty profound global challenges, including increasing demand for energy, water and natural resources. These are the kinds of challenges that Mines has been addressing for decades.”
Progress through philanthropy
Alumni say that private support has already played a role in transforming Mines into a residential campus, which now includes new and refurbished housing, an outstanding recreation center, a new health center, a new Center for Academic Services and Advising, and more than 170 campus organizations.
“When I went to Mines, it was survival of the fittest. They didn’t have nearly the same services or facilities available to students,” recalls trustee and campaign co-chair Tim Haddon ’70, who came to Mines in 1966 from Rhodesia, thanks to a generous grant from the Hochschild Family, of AMAX Mines. “Today it is tough to get in, but if you do, we will do everything we can to help you graduate and succeed.”
For senior Alex Steadman, help came in the form of a generous financial aid package from the start, as well as a boost from a departmental scholarship fund and the Dean Burger Memorial Endowment Fund when things got tough.
“I wouldn’t be here without financial aid,” says Steadman, who graduated from Estes Park High School in 2010 at a time when his parents, already hit hard by the financial downturn, suffered more financial and emotional setbacks when the 2012 High Park Fire swept through his family’s property.
For 27-year-old Brianna Svoboda, who started graduate work at Mines in 2011, help came in the form of a grant from the Dean Burger Memorial Endowment Fund, which allowed her to engage more fully in campus life. “Before, I had three jobs, and I didn’t really have the time to participate,” says Svoboda, who is now president of the student chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. “These clubs are a really important part of your campus experience … I am very appreciative of the helping hand, and I intend to give back some day.”
If she’s like many Mines grads, being in a position to give back might not take too long. In Payscale’s 2014 College Salary Report covering almost 1,500 national colleges, Mines ranks sixth for first-year salaries, and sixth for 30-year return on investment, which factors in average 30-year earnings for graduates, along with the cost of attending the university.
The Transforming Lives campaign is off to a strong start. Mines has seen record levels of giving during the campaign’s silent phase, which typically precedes a public launch. The record of $32.5 million set in 2012 for private gifts and commitments given during the fiscal year was broken in 2013, which saw $35.4 million in giving. To date, alumni, friends, foundations and corporate partners have given nearly $166 million to the campaign, including more than $104 million in private philanthropic support.
“With this campaign, we are achieving a much broader reach, particularly internationally,” says Haddon. “Every donor has a passion, and we are working to match Mines programs to fit those passions.”
Winkelbauer adds that broad participation is an important objective for the campaign. “Everyone’s gift is valued. Everyone can be a part of this. Our goals are about meeting the needs of Mines through the involvement of all donors.” These donors, he points out, include students, who sometimes start giving to Mines before they even graduate.
The number one priority for campaign organizers is to boost financial aid resources, which now benefit more than 80 percent of students. Another key priority is to create new student programming. “We have made great progress with physical infrastructure, and we have developed some exciting new programs, but there are many promising initiatives that need enhancing or are not off the ground yet,” says Dan Fox, vice president for student life. He envisions more external speakers on campus, weekend leadership workshops, and expanding Theme Learning Communities, which group freshmen in dorms based on their interests.
Another high priority for the campaign is establishing new faculty chairs—positions that often come with higher salaries, discretionary research budgets and added prestige. “To recruit the best and brightest students, we need to recruit the best and brightest faculty,” says Winkelbauer. “Endowed positions can help achieve this.” Campaign gifts totaling $14.5 million have already created seven new named faculty positions, which brings the total number of named faculty chairs and professorships established at Mines to 33. Of Mines’ 14 academic departments and divisions, only three have yet to receive an endowed chair.
Several capital construction projects are among the campaign goals, including construction of the Clear Creek Athletics Complex that will include training facilities, sports medicine, office and event space, locker rooms, a new soccer field, and—in honor of the former coach and athletics director, professor emeritus and 1963 alumnus—the new Marv Kay Stadium. Winkelbauer reports that fundraising is progressing well for the project, which will be entirely funded with private donations.
A cornerstone academic and research building is another high priority. Situated in the heart of campus, it will add much-needed instructional and lab space for the physics department, while establishing a hub for interdisciplinary collaboration within the recently formed College of Applied Science and Engineering. “Particularly in the areas of materials and bio, we are trying to group faculty and students from our four departments based on their areas of research, instead of their academic disciplines,” explains Tony Dean, who heads up CASE. The arrangement will make it easier to share resources and equipment, but the real goal is to promote the exchange of ideas. “As researchers with diverse backgrounds become familiar with each other’s work, novel ideas and insights will emerge,” says Dean. “As it is, Mines’ small size makes interdisciplinary collaboration easier, but we want to magnify this dynamic in these rapidly evolving fields. It’s a concept with tremendous potential,” he adds. (CASE is made up of the departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Geochemistry, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and Physics.)
A parallel approach has guided planning for the Welcome Center, a new facility to be built west of Illinois between 18th and 19th streets, which will house several outwardly focused campus offices, including admissions, the foundation, the alumni association and public relations. Proximity will encourage collaboration and information exchange, Winkelbauer believes, making the center the primary conduit for communicating information about the university to external audiences. “It’ll amplify our message,” he says. At the same time, it will provide a gathering place for visiting alumni, industry partners, and prospective students visiting with their families. “For the first time, Mines will have a formal gateway,” says Winkelbauer.
Amping up Mines’ marketing efforts to reach a wider audience will be welcomed by many who are familiar with the university’s capabilities and accomplishments, yet still see unrealized potential.
“With our focus on the areas of earth, energy and environment, this university is probably the best-positioned of any to tackle the global issues of our time,” says Scoggins. “This represents an opportunity and a challenge—one we have committed to take on. Success will be determined to a large extent by the support of alumni, friends and industry, and it’s already clear to me that the community has our back. We have some very exciting years ahead.”
Recognizing and Meeting a Need
Brennan Mayhak was delighted when he received news that he had been accepted to Mines, but his elation was tinged with concern—he wasn’t sure how he could pay for his education past the first year. The sophomore studying mechanical engineering is the oldest of six children, all home-schooled by their mother, although he’d attended Red Rocks Community College part time during 11th and 12th grades.
Then, just two weeks before his first day at Mines, he got a congratulatory email from Bruce Goetz, Mines’ director of admissions, letting him know he had received the Russell Badgett Jr. Endowed Scholarship. “The scholarship was a sign of sorts to me that I had picked the right school for my education,” Mayhak says.
The scholarship was established in honor of Russell Badgett Jr. ’40 by his son, Bentley Badgett II ’74, upon the death of his father in 2012. Both earned degrees in mining engineering. Russell served in World War II and later owned and operated coal mines in western Kentucky for more than 50 years. With his brothers, Rogers Badgett Sr. and Brown Badgett Sr., he pioneered the use of draglines in surface mining.
A Public Institution, Shaped by Private Giving
Dating back more than a century, a legacy of philanthropy has profoundly impacted Colorado School of Mines’ evolution.
1904: Stratton Hall is built with Mines’ first major philanthropic gift: $25,000 from mining mogul Winfield Scott Stratton, a trustee and former student.
1905: Guggenheim Hall is constructed with a gift of $80,000 from philanthropist Simon Guggenheim.
1971: The Cecil H. and Ida Green Graduate and Professional Center is built with a substantial gift from the Greens.
1976: George R. Brown Hall is built with a $4.4 million gift from George Brown ’22, donated through his Houston-based foundation. The gift is instrumental in establishing the Division of Engineering.
1978: The McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs is established, thanks to the work of dedicated faculty and private financial support.
1989: The Multicultural Engineering Program is launched with a multi-year commitment from ARCO Foundation.
1992: Three endowed chairs in the Division of Engineering are established thanks to a $6 million gift from the Brown Foundation.
1995: The Women in Science Engineering and Mathematics program is established with a gift of $150,000 from Chevron.
2003: The Chesebro’ Distinguished Chair in Petroleum Engineering is established with gifts totaling $2.5 million from Steve ’64 and Dollie Chesebro’. It is the department’s first endowed faculty position.
2005: Marquez Hall fundraising is kicked off when Tim ’80 and Bernadette Marquez announce a $10 million challenge grant. With the help of almost 200 alumni, friends and corporate partners, the Petroleum Engineering Department’s $27 million new home is opened in 2012.
Construction of the Student Recreation Center is supported with gifts of $3 million from John ’52 and Erika Lockridge, $2 million from the Adolph Coors Foundation, and numerous additional private donations. The building opens in 2007.
2009: The Harvey Scholars Program is established with a $10 million gift from Hugh ’74, MS ’80 and Michelle Harvey.
2012: The Harveys contribute an additional $11.2 million to the scholarship program. It remains the largest single gift in Mines’ history.
The Grandey University Chair in Nuclear Science and Engineering is established with a $3 million gift from Jerry ’68 and Tina Grandey.
Clear Creek Athletics Complex fundraising kicks off with private commitments totaling $9.5 million.
2013: The F.H. “Mick” Merelli/Cimarex Energy Distinguished Department Head Chair in Petroleum Engineering is established with a gift of $3.5 million from Cimarex.
The Transforming Lives campaign is publicly launched, with a goal of $350 million.