Update from the Hill

March 3, 2008

It is a season of celebration at St. Olaf. Alumni, parents, corporations, foundations, and other friends of the College—Oles all—have joined together to contribute $33 million to the Campaign for Math and Science. We have met our goal: the new science building will be open when classes begin next fall. Upon the recommendation of faculty and staff committees that have been working on the design and monitoring the construction of the new building, and in recognition of the $21 million contributed to the campaign by members of the Board of Regents and by our Senior Regents, the new science complex will be called the Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. The optimism and positive energy generated by our success in this campaign permeate every part of the St. Olaf campus. Institutions, like people, have moods, and the mood at St. Olaf today is buoyant.

There is good reason for this buoyancy. St. Olaf College is flourishing. I encourage you to read the College’s Annual Report, which is available on the website. This brief report outlines the College’s performance in key areas during 2006-07, showing both where we have succeeded and where we have work to do, comparing our results with those of other leading liberal arts colleges. The report also contains some fun facts, such as the number of pounds of student-grown produce served in the cafeteria in 06-07 (more than 3 tons!).

The Class of 2008 has begun its Senior Campaign, which invites graduating seniors to begin their lifetime of philanthropy with a gift or pledge to St. Olaf. The Class aspires to raise $10,000 for Partners in Annual Giving, our annual fund program. Partners is having a good year. The percentage of alumni who have contributed to Partners thus far this year, compared to this date last year, is up by 7% and the total amount given is up 15%. In truth, St. Olaf College is in the care of its alumni and friends, and we have the responsibility to ensure that it flourishes, as others have done before us. If you have not yet made your gift to Partners, I invite you to do so now.

Commencement for the Class of 2008 will take place May 25th. Our speaker will be Susan Seacrest ’75, an educator and advocate for clean groundwater whose work was recognized with the prestigious Heinz Award for the Environment. Susan’s work is featured in the current issue of St. Olaf Magazine, and I encourage you to read about her and to join us for her address.

Spring will arrive soon. Frisbees will be flung. Flip-flops will be ubiquitous. But between now and the end of the academic year students and faculty will be focused on what is, after all, the core work of the College: teaching and learning. In classrooms, on athletic fields, in residence halls, in Boe Chapel St. Olaf students will be preparing for lives of worth and service. We solicit your encouragement and support for them and for the College.

David R. Anderson ’74