Renaissance Campaign concludes as largest fundraising effort

Assistant professor Steven Snyder and NATALIE PATRNCHAK ’12 perform in a skit written by George Brown, chairman of the theatre department.

GREG SCHAMBERGER ’14, TOMMY CARRERAS ’11, and ADAM WINDISH ’14 sang popular songs from 1907, 1949, 1965, and 2011 — years that were highlighted in the skits.

Beginning in Italy centuries ago, the Renaissance had a profound impact on cultural life in Europe. In modern-day America, the Renaissance Campaign launched by Bradley in 2008 has made its mark, too, leaving the University and the Peoria landscape forever changed. Surpassing its goal of $150 million, the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance has concluded with funds raised topping $161 million. 

“We took our vision for Bradley’s future from coast to coast, meeting with alumni and friends to ask them to imagine with us what we’ll do next,” President Joanne Glasser said. “We don’t have to imagine any longer because of the many academic and physical developments from the campaign. The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance has been everything we hoped for and more.”

Visible signs of the resurgence are everywhere. They include the popular Markin Family Student Recreation Center, the 4,200-seat Renaissance Coliseum, a new 600-space parking deck on Main Street, the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, and a massive addition to Westlake Hall, slated for completion in the summer. A new Alumni Quad on the west side of campus is also being developed.

Fundraising efforts have not been only about limestone and mortar, however. Seventy-nine new scholarships were created and $52 million has been earmarked for academic and operational enhancements. Bradley’s endowment now approaches $250 million, with $30 million of campaign gifts applied to the fund.

“These are amazing achievements that have been made possible by the people who believe in Bradley and our vision,” said GERRY SHAHEEN ’66 MBA ’68, chairman of the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance. “I believe this campaign is a turning point for Bradley, an effort that will serve as a catalyst, propelling Bradley toward national distinction,” added Shaheen, a retired Caterpillar group president and past chairman of the Bradley Board of Trustees. 

Glasser and Shaheen celebrated the grand finale of the campaign by emceeing events for major donors, faculty, and staff on October 27 and 28. They chatted onstage and watched as scenes of Bradley life in 1907, 1949, 1965, and 2011 were acted out, while photos of people and historic places flashed on giant screens in the Renaissance Coliseum. 

Stage lighting and special effects set the mood for the celebration marking the completion of the campaign.

A trio of vocalists revved up the crowd with songs from the respective eras — ranging from Some Enchanted Evening to Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence, all the way to Katy Perry’s Firework. The events closed with a lively video of various students, faculty, and staff enthusiastically thanking campaign donors.

The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance began accumulating gifts and commitments in June 2005, and was publicly launched at a gala on April 24, 2008. “Imagine what we’ll do next” has been the theme of the campaign, the most successful in Bradley’s history. 

The lead gift — a pledge of $30 million — came from Caterpillar. About 16,000 alumni made gifts, representing 26 percent of Bradley’s alumni base. 

— Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77