Bates Celebrates Raising $346 Million through The Bates Campaign

On the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 28 in Pettengill Hall, the Bates College administration hosted a celebration of the $346 million raised over the past five years through The Bates Campaign

The first 30 minutes were devoted to networking and socializing. Perry Atrium was overflowing with people dressed in formal and business-casual attire. The Board of Trustees, administrators, and staff were in attendance. Alongside them, a number of students and alumni were also present. 

To preface the speeches made by President Clayton Spencer and John Gillespie ‘80, the chair of the Board of Trustees, the concertmaster for the Bates College Orchestra, Mavy Ho ‘26, played a piece on the violin. 

President Spencer then stepped up to the podium. She began her speech by thanking everyone present along with the greater Bates Community. 

We could not have blown past the most ambitious goal in Bates history: $300 million to $346,” President Spencer said. “Without everything all of you get up every day to do here, we couldn’t have garnered support if people didn’t see what was going on, and if they didn’t believe that we had assembled the faculty, the staff, and the students to create a transformative experience for everyone.” 

President Spencer then emphasized how the Campaign was a landmark event in regards to alumni and community giving, describing it as, “an important and impressive new moment in fundraising at Bates” with over “19,000 Bates students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends making gifts to the campaign.”

Her speech was concluded with thanks and acknowledgments to the board of trustees before inviting John Gillespie ‘80 to the stage. 

“I want to give a complete shoutout to our trustees who led that effort to put the big stakes in the ground and modeled this kind of exceptional faith in Bates generosity and commitment to set the pace for everyone else […] thank you, thank you for your leadership, for caring about the college and for showing up today to come together and celebrate this moment,” she said.

Gillespie began his speech by thanking the campus community and then briefly running through ways in which the college plans on meeting the four goals of the campaign: driving academic excellence, investing in opportunity, catalyzing student success, and building financial sustainability. 

For driving academic excellence, he spoke primarily of endowed professorships and the Digital and Computational Studies Program (DCS). He also touched upon the construction and renovation of new buildings 

“Thanks to the generosity of so many, we were able to fund seven endowed professorships, create and endow a digital and computational studies program, build the new Bonney Science Center, and renovate Dana Hall,” Gillespie said.“Not only do our new and renovated facilities create cutting-edge spaces for science teaching and research, but they also contain interdisciplinary spaces that serve classes across the curriculum.”

Investing in opportunity was “all about providing the college with enough financial aid resources to continue to attract and enroll the best and brightest students from around the country,” according to Gillespie, with the college having raised a total of $135 million towards financial aid initiatives. This exceeded initial goals of only $75 million. 

Catalyzing student success came in the form of “strengthening the power of purposeful work and the many ways we help students acquire the knowledge, experiences, and relationships necessary to pursue their aspirations with imagination and dignity.”

“Donor gifts also funded student leadership programs, athletics, and an array of programs known as the Inclusive Bates experience to better support the needs of students who come to Bates from a wider variety of backgrounds than ever before.”

Gillespie then described the $138 million dollars raised for the endowment as the most important facet of building financial sustainability. He highlighted that this was a group effort and expressed his “hope (that) the pride in participation sparked by the Bates Campaign sustains this momentum for years to come.” 

He then moved into thanking certain members of the Bates Community. This began with acknowledgments to the campaign steering committee, who represent “represent four decades of Bates alumni as well as current and past parents.” 

“They make dates a philanthropic priority and threw themselves wholeheartedly into making this campaign a success. 

Sarah Pearson ‘75, the now-retired vice president for college advancement was next to be saluted, having “managed the campaign with immense skill and boundless enthusiasm for securing a strong future for her alma mater”

Finally, he ended his speech with thanks to President Spencer for having built the framework for such a campaign to take place. 

“Finally, I want to thank Clayton Spencer for developing a vision for Bates and for building a team that could execute that vision,” Gillespie said. “Clayton, you have been a transformative leader for Bates, giving new shape and meaning to the power of a liberal arts education for today’s world, we would not be here today without the energy, ambition, and joy you communicate so powerfully to the Bates community. Thank you so much.”

The ceremony was brought to a close by a rendition of Billy Pilgrim’s “Imsoniac” sung by the Deansmen, an a capella group on campus.