Gordon College completes largest fundraising campaign in school history

Gordon College in Wenham, MA, announced today that it raised $186.5 million through a comprehensive campaign which officially concludes on June 30. Called Faith Rising, the campaign surpassed its original $130 million goal by 43 percent and was completed a full year ahead of schedule. In addition to a transformative lead gift of $75.5 million committed two years ago—the largest ever made to a Christian liberal arts college—Gordon received a $40 million planned giving commitment (for a total of $115 million) from the same anonymous donor to serve as the capstone to the most successful fundraising endeavor in the College’s history.

Faith Rising is the ultimate ‘shot in the arm’ for Gordon and an affirmation of its future,” said Herman J. Smith Jr. ’70, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “This extraordinary outcome offers palpable hope for the vitality of Gordon College in the long run as it expands opportunities for students and serves as an additional safeguard against the threats facing higher education in the years ahead.”

The College launched Faith Rising in January of 2017 with a quiet phase, an aspirational goal that was three times larger than Gordon’s last major comprehensive campaign (Salt & Light, more than 20 years ago), and three essential objectives—to provide greater affordability for students, to fund innovations that might facilitate a more adaptable education, and to support a robust campus Christian community. When it formally concludes next month, the campaign will have more than doubled Gordon’s endowment to $100 million, added more than 20 new endowed scholarships for students, helped underwrite the “Gordon Game Change” tuition reset (33 percent reduction effective in the fall of 2021) that was announced last October, and added four new fully funded academic chairs in music, history, biblical studies and education.

“This campaign is a ringing endorsement for the relevance and the appeal of a Christian higher education,” said President D. Michael Lindsay, whose own decade-long tenure at Gordon College also concludes next month, when he will leave to become president of Taylor University in Indiana. “The level of philanthropic support for this campaign far exceeded our hopes and aspirations and would not have been possible without donors who were willing to step up boldly to leave an enduring imprint on the College’s financial vitality and to further Gordon’s unique standing in New England.”

The tuition reset takes effect this fall and is a new pricing structure designed to connect quality and affordability to save students thousands of dollars over four years of undergraduate study at Gordon. Tuition for the fall of 2021 will be 33 percent lower as the overall “sticker price” reboots from $50,650 to $37,950.

“Gordon came alongside me to make affording a Christian education a reality,” says Matheus Ramos ’22, a computer science major and a member of the Gordon Presidential Fellows. “It’s really exciting that more students like me will be able to experience Gordon, thanks to donor support.”

As an additional boon to affordability, the campaign includes more than $70 million to establish 43 scholarships and awards. Some of the most prominent scholarships seek to attract students interested in economics, business or community development; students who live or attend high school in an urban environment; first-generation college students; high-achieving music majors; students with interest in education and linguistics or in leadership, and those with financial need.

There is also a new award dedicated to alumni teachers working with underserved populations, which includes funds allocated to that teacher’s school. The inaugural recipient of the Margaret Wright Award in 2020 was Jessica Cochran ’18 (B.S. in Early Childhood Education, B.A. in Biology), who is a second and third-grade teacher at Pittsburgh Urban Christian School. The 2021 recipient will be Aleah Tarnoviski ’12 (B.S. in Early Childhood Education, B.A. in Psychology) who teaches kindergarten at Success Academy Bronx 2, a charter school in New York.

The campaign also marks a five-fold increase in new faculty chairs. The funding of endowed chairs addresses a longstanding weakness for Gordon relative to peer institutions. They attract and retain top faculty in targeted academic areas, can serve as inspiration for students in those areas of study and create expanded opportunities for students to work alongside their professors in peer-reviewed scholarship.

“Gordon is blessed with a number of current professors who are most deserving of the recognition that comes from being appointed to an endowed chair,” said Lindsay. “We are eager to honor the distinguished scholarship, teaching and service these colleagues have given the College by providing them the resources they need to advance to the next level.”

The new endowed chair appointments include: Dr. Sarita Kwok, Adams Endowed Chair in Music; Dr. Priscilla Nelson ’74, Richard F. Gross Endowed Professorship in Education; Dr. Jennifer Hevelone-Harper ’92, Loring-Phillips Endowed Professorship in History; Dr. Daniel Darko, Wilson-Ockenga Endowed Professorship in Biblical and Theological Studies.

More complete details on Faith Rising can be found at Faithrising.gordon.edu.


Cyndi McMahon
Gordon College
[email protected]


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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