Gonzaga Will Campaign to Raise $250 Million for Scholarships, Exemplary Jesuit Education

10/15/2015

(from left) Laurie Arnold, director and assistant professor of Native American Studies; Academic Vice President Patricia O'Connell Killen; student Kristin McNeley ('16); President Thayne McCulloh; Campaign Co-Chairs Tom and Phil McCarthey; student Megan Garcia ('19); and Fr. Jim Voiss, S.J., assistant vice president for mission.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University announced today a $250 million campaign with five major priority areas, the most prominent of which involves increasing scholarship support to students. The other priorities underscore Gonzaga’s commitment to develop leaders prepared to shape their communities and professions for the common good through a focus on academic innovation, global engagement and community-building.

Thanks to the unprecedented generosity of supporters, $183 million has already been raised, with $67 million remaining to reach Gonzaga’s goal.

At the campaign’s launch this evening, President Thayne McCulloh announced an extraordinary $55 million gift from the late Miss Myrtle Woldson. Woldson, a Spokane resident and lifelong community philanthropist, directed her gift in two ways: first, to design and build the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center at Gonzaga, and second, to help talented, high-financial-need students have access to a Gonzaga education. Her gift will establish a transformational, premier scholarship fund – the largest for high-need students in GU history – and is the lead gift for the scholarship component of the campaign for Gonzaga University.

“Miss Woldson’s generous gift, the largest in Gonzaga’s history, allows her to further a legacy of performing and visual arts in the Inland Northwest, and change the lives of generations of students who will realize a more affordable Gonzaga education,” said President McCulloh. “I will always cherish the fact that I had the opportunity to work with Miss Woldson and am committed to assuring her legacy serves our students in a way that would make her proud.”

The gift is the second-largest from an individual to a college or university in Washington state history, according to data from the Chronicle of Philanthropy (http://bit.ly/1jooGjX).

President McCulloh expressed gratitude for the exceptional benefaction of more than 23,000 contributors who have given to the campaign. He also recognized other individuals who have made transformational campaign gifts, including John J. Hemmingson for his support of the newly opened Hemmingson Center; an anonymous family’s gift in support of student-athletes and training; Jeff and Sharon Stevens, and Jim (’79) and Gwen Powers for the Stevens Center (tennis and golf facility); Mark Pigott family for the Pigott Professor in Entrepreneurship; Johnson Scholarship Foundation to establish a scholarship endowment for the MBA in American Indian Entrepreneurship program; Thomas K. McCarthey, Jr. (’73), Philip G. McCarthey (’74), Sarah McCarthey, and Maureen McCarthey (’82) to establish a scholarship endowment for the University’s Gonzaga-in-Florence campus; and Fritz and Jeanie Wolff for their generous commitment to fund scholarships and to provide support for innovation across the University.

More than 1,000 University supporters and community leaders gathered at the campaign launch event this evening at the Davenport Grand Hotel called “Because You Believe.” The program filled with fine art, dance, music and storytelling communicated Gonzaga’s vision for its future.

“We are here tonight to express our gratitude to all of you for your continued commitment to making our institution a place of creativity, innovation and inspiration. For helping us foster the contributions and people the world needs most,” President McCulloh told attendees. “From this moment we move forward with renewed purpose and passion, because the future of Gonzaga depends upon it.”

In addition to making Gonzaga more accessible and affordable through scholarship support, other primary goals within the Gonzaga Will campaign include:
  • The fostering of interdisciplinary programs, experiential learning and student research opportunities to expand students’ capacity for innovation and ability to develop solutions for complex challenges;
  • Modernize science labs, libraries, athletic facilities, and creative spaces so scientists, student-athletes, and artists can develop their abilities to the fullest;
  • Expand Gonzaga’s commitment to building sustainable communities across the globe; and
  • Continue to expand and enrich opportunities for international engagement, and invite the brightest, boldest international thinkers to campus to share their wisdom.

Campaign co-chairs Gonzaga Trustee Thomas K. McCarthey, Jr., and his brother and fellow alumnus, Trustee Emeritus Philip G. McCarthey, invite Zag supporters everywhere to support the University’s vision and join the campaign effort.

“We are so proud of where Gonzaga is today as a shining example of the power of Jesuit education. We couldn’t thank the University enough for what it has meant to our family. We ask others to join with us to be responsible for making sure generations to come are benefitted in the same kinds of ways,” Thomas McCarthey said.

“Zags look out for other Zags – it’s the Gonzaga way. The collective power of financial gifts – no matter the size – will power Gonzaga forward to expand its ability to make a difference in our world,” added Philip McCarthey.

Media: Please contact Mary Joan Hahn, director of community and public relations, at (509) 313-6095.