Marlboro College

NewsPress Release - 10/18/99

MARLBORO, VT -- When Marlboro College President Paul LeBlanc announced recently that an anonymous donor had just pledged $2 million for a new library wing, most faculty, staff, and students thought there couldn't be better news than that. But the following day LeBlanc told the on-campus community something he was not at liberty to discuss 24 hours earlier: that the same donor had also pledged $10 million for the College's endowment.

When paid, the $12 million gift will be the largest single contribution ever made to a Vermont college. The donor, whom President LeBlanc described as a long-time friend of the college, wishes anonymity.

"The significance and meaning of this gift is not lost to anyone who knows Marlboro College," LeBlanc said. "It validates all the work so many people have put into making Marlboro a stronger and better college - not bigger or fancier. It opens up possibilities that in the past we've only been able to think about."

Half of the $10 million in endowment must be matched by other friends and alumni of the College, LeBlanc said. In fact, he said, planning for a major endowment campaign to start in spring or summer 2000 has been underway for some months. "The monetary goal of the campaign has yet to be determined, but obviously with this gift in hand it will exceed $15 million. And I think we can speed up the time table," LeBlanc said.

Asked what Marlboro would spend $10 million on, LeBlanc explained that at most colleges money earmarked as endowment is invested conservatively and the institution only spends between five and eight percent of the endowment's worth in any one year. "Almost certainly, the majority of it will be used to expand student opportunity and access and to support our faculty and their academic programs." LeBlanc pointed out that colleges of Marlboro's size should have endowments in the $25 million to $30 million range. Before this gift, Marlboro's endowment was $2 million. "We still have a long way to go before we complete our campaign and get to where we need to be, but this is a great first step, a genuinely transforming gift," LeBlanc commented.

The pledge comes just as the 53-year old, 270-student college begins a $3.5 million campus renovation and renewal program.

"We questioned whether to try to raise money for a much needed addition to the library. Now that question, too, is answered," LeBlanc said. "This has been a very good week for Marlboro." Plans for extending the 50,000 volumelibrary, which was built in 1962, are not complete, and the job will be added to the work of the standing building committee, which is responsible for coordinating the numerous architects, plans, and projects within the
campus renovation and renewal program

That program, funded through a bond issue with additional support from private foundations and friends of the College, includes a new $1 million state-of-the-art septic system, completed just weeks ago. Then, over the next three years and employing as many as six architects under the guidance of New York architect Deborah Berke, the College plans on building new classrooms and faculty offices and a new dormitory with room for 20 to 30
students, renovating the existing administrative building and constructing a new admissions building, winterizing Persons auditorium, removing the maintenance building from the center of campus and replacing it with landscaping, among numerous smaller projects.

The College appears to be just as busy at its Brattleboro Persons School, where barely two years ago Marlboro began offering the first e-commerce Master of Science degree in the nation, as well as the first Master's in the Art of Teaching with Internet Technology. A third program, a Master in Internet Engineering, was added and filled to capacity in September. The new degree program brings the total number of students at The Persons School to 77. In addition, the Design Center, an arm of The Persons School which develops complex websites for large institutions, has landed contracts that will add some $400,000 to the College's coffers this year.

"Marlboro has lived hand-to-mouth for over 50 years," said President LeBlanc. "With the growing success of The Graduate School and the Design Center, and the overall strengthening of the College academically and physically, we knew we were on a roll. Now with this wonderfu lendowment gift and the campaign it inspires we can begin thinking in new ways about the College, not only on how we function right here on campus, but also on the regional and national level where Marlboro plays an important role in progressive liberal arts education."

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