For the Future: Penn State’s Capital Campaign




This weekend culminates Penn State’s Capital Campaign that has been building since January 1, 2007.  In 2010, then-President Graham Spanier announced that the campaign had already reached over $1 billion in donations, and that the University’s goal would be to raise $2 billion by June 2014 (

Although the actual campaign has not been completed, there is a production on saturday in Eisenhower Auditorium for all individuals who donated a seven-figure (a million dollars!) sum to the university.  This event is how the Capital Campaign relates to Essence, because the event that I mentioned includes many performing groups.

At a rehearsal earlier this week, the organizers were setting up the props and walking us through our parts, and I was blown away by the scale of this.  The Glee Club, Essence, and other performing groups are doing ‘numbers’ during the show, and a Penn State Nobel Laureate even agreed to participate.  We are singing a choreographed  “Shine the Light,” in addition to joining the Glee Club in “Fight on State” and, oddly enough, “The Power of Love.”

Part of the hype will be that the amount of money that has been raised so far will be announced, and the production seems to be a push to “give just a little more,” particularly considering who the audience members will be.  Even after this rehearsal, I really didn’t understand what the point of raising this massive sum of money was, so I looked into where it will go.

The amount of money that had been raised by 2010, and the expected $2 billion by the end of this year truly astounded me.  The money will go towards keeping the cost of tuition from rising significantly and offering scholarships to students.  Other goals include:

– Enhancing honors education and encouraging innovation across the curriculum
– Building faculty strength and capacity
– Fostering discovery and creativity through interdisciplinary research initiatives

It is amazing to see how much we, as students, benefit from the donations of alumni and of others!  I am sure that not all of this money goes directly towards helping students, but it does contribute to the institution that we are a (paying) part of (

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