As we end the academic year, I am proud to tell you that charitable giving to the College is at an all-time high. As many of you know, last fall we received our second $1 million gift. This gift, from the estate of Dr. Frederick B. Kilmer, the original science director of Johnson & Johnson, was made by an anonymous donor. The gift is in memory of Rebecca R. “Becky” Pratt, a 1997 Politics graduate of SUNY Potsdam, who passed away in 2001. After months of planning and consultation with the donor, we have finalized the details concerning the use of this gift. It will be used to enhance undergraduate research opportunities and our student life program.
This gift will establish two funds: The Kilmer Fund and The Pratt Student Fund. A portion of the gift ($100,000) will also go into the College’s unrestricted fund, to allow the College the greatest flexibility in using it wherever there is greatest need. The Kilmer Fund, named in honor of Dr. Kilmer, will support undergraduate research projects. An endowment of $450,000 will provide stipends to students to work with faculty on research projects during the summer, monies for student travel to professional conferences to present the fruits of their creative activity, and funding for other related expenses. Grants from The Kilmer Fund will be made by the Provost’s Office and coordinated by a Director of Undergraduate Research and Advisory Board to be identified in the fall when the first call for applications for funding will be publicized.
Recognizing that learning goes on both in the academic setting as well as in co- and extra-curricular activities, The Pratt Fund will support student activities on campus. Also based on an endowment of $450,000, The Pratt Fund will allow us to enhance activities and programs that create student leadership opportunities, encourage student engagement and promote student development and campus involvement. We anticipate that the programming and activities supported by The Pratt Fund will create even more opportunities for students to be involved in the life of the campus, to learn life skills through leadership and service and, thereby, improve student retention.
The first $1 million gift to the campus, given by the same donor, is currently being used to help build Becky’s Place at Pratt Commons, on the site of the old Greenery. That gift was enhanced by funds from Potsdam Auxiliary and College Educational Services, Inc. (PACES) and SUNY Potsdam’s five-year capital plan funds. Becky’s Place is scheduled to be completed in August 2008.
The College is indeed fortunate to have so many friends and alumni who give so generously to assist us in providing a high-quality educational experience to our students.