Inside the Centennial Campaign

Community members collaborate to facilitate the capital campaign that marks the school’s 100th anniversary

CENTENNIAL YEAR Kathy Limmer, Director of Development and External Affairs, makes phone calls and organizes parent volunteers in order to carry out the Centennial Capital Campaign. Photo by Sydney

As of March, it has raised $55 million of the $100 million goal, most of which accumulated during the “quiet phase” before it was officially announced on Feb. 23 this year at the Centennial Kick-Off Dinner. To date, no campaign has set a goal as high as the Centennial Campaign.

“You recognize that there are once in a lifetime moments for any school, and a centennial is one of those,” Eugene McDermott Headmistress Kim Wargo said. “You only get to celebrate it once.”

The Board of Trustees began tentative preparations to execute the Centennial Campaign in 2006 and looked towards the priorities of the school to form its three essential tenets: financial sustainability for students, faculty endowment and funding for building renovations.

“In order for us to be on the cutting edge of girls’ education in the United States and around the world, there are some things that we need to do to make sure that we stay at the top of our game,” Wargo said. “One hundred million dollars is really the cost we need in order to accomplish our needs.”

Donors are able to contribute gifts to any of the three parts of the Centennial Campaign. For example, a donor may choose to give money for the purpose of supporting the financial aid component of the campaign.

Financial sustainability supports the student aid program of the school, ensuring that qualified students can receive a Hockaday education, regardless of their financial backgrounds. Both the faculty and financial aid components of the campaign are endowment funds, which allow for exponential, long-term gain.

“Individuals have made it a priority to ensure that we have funds available for students who need them in order to afford a Hockaday education,” Kathy Limmer, Director of Development and External Affairs, said. A donation of $50,000 or more allows for a named financial fund.

“This is an exciting time for the school,” said JT Coats, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Head for Finance and Administration. “If you want to make a mark on The Hockaday School, this is a critical time.”

Monetary support for teachers and faculty allows the school to attract and sustain skilled teachers and send them to enriching events such as conferences.

“The faculty has always been a hallmark of the Hockaday education,” Limmer said. “We want our classrooms to come to life with the best and brightest faculty members.”

Donations to renovate, however, will directly fund the new science, fine arts and residence buildings. Hockaday has raised enough money to date to begin construction of the science building this summer.

Such a large campaign necessitates the teamwork of the Board of Trustees, the Campaign Executive Committee and the Parent Volunteer Team, led by Wargo, Limmer and Campaign Chair Maryann Sarris Mihalopoulos ’78.

“Anyone who has a connection to Hockaday will be able to be a part of the campaign,” Wargo said.

Events such as headmistress brown bags and campus tours will allow individuals to learn more about the school. Additionally, parent volunteers, after a training session in February, have reached out to potential donors through phone calls.

Coats said she believes that campaigns make changes possible that are crucial to the school’s development.

“Campaigns are really what affect the course of the institution,” Coats said, “They’re critical to the life of the school.”

Though the centennial celebrations will be confined to a year, the centennial campaign, which has already been underway for a few years, will span across the next few years to gain the rest of the 100 million dollars.

“A campaign is about money to an extent, but it’s about so much more than that,” Coats said. “It’s about engaging the community, it’s about providing for the future and it’s about supporting the mission of this incredible institution.”

-Amy