Valparaiso University students and faculty received news of a historic $15 million gift for student scholarships on Feb. 6. According to a press release sent out that day, this commitment is the single largest gift for student scholarships in Valpo’s history and among the largest to be donated to Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future.
“The $15 million commitment is from a couple who are friends of the University. It’s deferred, as many commitments are, so it will come to the University at a point in the future through their estate,” said Chief Communications Officer Nicole Niemi.
At this time, the donors wish to remain anonymous, according to President Mark Heckler.
“I can share that they are longtime friends of Valpo, they love the University and they are deeply committed to our mission and to changing the lives of young people through education,” Heckler said in the press release.
Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future started in Sept. 2016 with a kickoff celebration, including a concert from the Barenaked Ladies, raising $135 million.
In order to announce an endowment campaign, the university must raise at least half of the goal. The Forever Valpo initiative falls in line with this reasoning, raising the $135 million.
According to a Torch article from Sept. 30, 2016, the purpose of these funds is, in general, to advance the university in its pursuit of excellence among faith-based institutions. Heckler called it “the most ambitious fundraising effort in Valparaiso University history” with a goal of raising $250 million.
The campaign is said to be completed by 2021 and has raised over $238 million.
While information on restrictions of the scholarship donation has not been made public yet, $15 million will surely be useful to many students who hope to receive scholarships once the funds become available.
“It will definitely help the university overall and my hope would be that it can help increase grants and scholarships that we can offer to students,” said Director of Financial Aid Karen Klimczyk.
Heckler feels grateful for this donation, saying the impact this will have on future generations of students will be immeasurable.
“These donors embody the true spirit of philanthropy in that they are motivated solely by their desire to give back and providing opportunities that will change students’ lives. Unselfishly, they will provide countless students, students whom they will never meet, with a chance to achieve their dreams through an extraordinary Valpo experience,” Heckler said.