They said it couldn’t be done. But they were wrong.
More than seven years ago, during the silent phase of The Columbia Campaign, the University hired a fundraising consulting firm to determine a reasonable goal for The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence. Research indicated that Columbia Athletics could expect to generate a maximum of $45 million through the Campaign. After all, Columbia Athletics had never raised more than $20 million in any previous fundraising campaign.
But the Campaign for Athletics Leadership Committee was bold enough to know that the loyal alumni, fans, friends and family of Columbia Athletics could do much more.
On Friday, October 12, 2007, The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence was launched in a public ceremony in Low Memorial Library with the ambitious goal of $100 million in support of People, Places and Programs. With the amazing support our alumni, fans and friends, Columbia publically announced the opening of The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence at $47 million – $2 million more than the original estimate for the entire Campaign– and we were just getting started.
Over the next six years, the support and enthusiasm of our stakeholders was even BOLDER than ever imagined. Columbia Athletics surpassed its audacious $100 million goal by the official end date of the Campaign, December 31, 2013. When the last gifts were counted, Columbia’s fans, friends, parents, faculty, staff, students, and alumni had contributed $100,129,199 in support of our Lions.
“With the help of President Bollinger, the University Trustees, University senior leadership, and our Campaign Leadership Committee, we have succeeded in the largest fundraising effort in the history of our athletics program,” Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education said. “We are so incredibly grateful for all of the alumni, parents and friends of the Columbia Community for their generous support in helping us accomplish our Campaign goal. We did it!”
Gifts to The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence have transformed Columbia Athletics. Through the Campaign, Columbia has built new facilities – Including the award-winning Campbell Sports Center – and renovated existing venues. Columbia has created new varsity sports programs, hired and retained talented coaches and staff, and established new and enriched existing endowments. Columbia Athletics has also instituted groundbreaking new programs that will ensure the Columbia student-athlete experience is second-to-none.
“The support we receive from our alumni, fans and friends means so much to everyone in the athletics program,” Dr. Murphy said. “We cannot say thank you enough. It is because of all of our stakeholders that we have made such tremendous progress through The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence. We still have much to do, but we are excited to build upon the momentum of the Campaign. I know we can, and will, move forward together.”