Unity College announced a gift of $10 million for unrestricted endowment from an anonymous donor today.  The gift is unprecedented in the small college’s 45-year history and will more than triple its existing endowment.

Endowment gifts are really investments in the college’s future noted new president Dr. Stephen Mulkey who announced the gift as part of his first State of the College address on August 23. This gift will create $500,000 in additional annual operating revenue, currently about 4% of the college’s overall budget.  It is especially important at small colleges like Unity that rely so heavily on tuition each year.

“The donor’s intent to provide unrestricted support comes with great responsibility,” noted Mulkey.  “Climate change is one of the gravest challenges we’ve faced and we have an ethical imperative to provide a 21st century approach to sustainability science and to include this in our curriculum.”

While endowment gifts may not be as tangible as gifts for new buildings or other capital projects, they create unique opportunities for colleges like Unity that have the potential to implement change quickly. Unity’s small size, dedicated faculty, and relative youth make it a nimble and potentially leading-edge institution in this regard.  “A gift like this allows us to adapt to the latest developments in sustainability science and sustainability studies, and to continually hone our curriculum,” said Mulkey. “The annual draw from this gift will allow us to move forward strategically to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities brought on by climate change and resource depletion.”

Mulkey also noted that this gift is a tremendous vote of confidence in the college.  “A gift of this magnitude and purpose speaks highly to the work of everyone at Unity College.  It is a clear signal of the value of their efforts and the importance of the education Unity College provides.”  The college has also received significant support recently from The Kendeda Fund to construct the first Passive House standard student residence in the U.S. and from the Unity Foundation for capacity building.

Unity College is a small private college in mid-coast Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011