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Renassaince Campaign funding slowly growing to goal

After nearly half a decade, the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance is moving forward and seeing results.

Launched in June 2005 and publicly announced in April 2008, the Renaissance Campaign has raised $131 million, “chugging along” to the $150 million goal, said Pat Vickerman, vice president for advancement.

The lagging economy “has been an issue a bit,” Vickerman said, adding that more fundraising is needed to complete the $150 million goal.

The main priorities of the campaign include six major construction or renovation projects. The Markin Family Student Recreation Center opened in Fall 2008. The Athletic Performance Arena and Puterbaugh Men’sBasketball Practice Facility will be complete by spring after a little more than two years of construction.

The Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, west of Bradley Hall, should open before October 2011. The campaign has raised $6.5 million toward the project’s $12 million total, and Vickerman said the campaign is turning toward the alumni.

“Alums are excited about the university … and this creates interest,” he said. “It’s up to us to cultivate a relationship with them.”

A grassroots drive to be launched this spring will reach out to alums for support in completing the campaign.

The campaign’s other projects include renovations to Westlake Hall and an Engineering and Business Convergence Center. The convergence center will house the College of Engineering and Technology and the Foster College of Business Administration, as well as a central “convergence center” that will house joint facilities, including a 200-seat auditorium.

“The convergence center will transform the teaching and learning environment,” Vickerman said. “We’re anxious to start.”

But he said that there is still a “little work” to do in raising the campaign’s $150 million goal. However, the campaign has no specific goal date.

“We’ll end when we reach $150 million,” he said.

The Renaissance Campaign is the university’s most successful campaign in history. Vickerman said this is important to one of the campaign’s major goals – creating a stronger culture of philanthropy with alums.

“It’s an education process of raising the bar of expectations of where Bradley is headed,” he said. “We need to use excitement to leverage additional private support.”

Peoria businessman Dale Burkland gave a $1 million gift to the campaign this week to bring the total to the $131 million figure.

The last fundraising record was $127 million reached in 1998 with the Centennial Campaign.

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