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Philadelphia University's Most Successful Capital Campaign Raises Nearly $60 Million

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Philadelphia University is celebrating its most successful capital campaign in history, which has raised nearly $60 million to support such initiatives as new academic programs, innovative facilities, scholarships and faculty term chairs.

The five-year Power to Innovate campaign, started in 2009, raised 50 percent more than its stated goal of $40 million, itself double the University's previous campaign of $20 million. There were multiple million-dollar-plus donations, led by alumnus Maurice Kanbar '52 with $21 million, and more than 40 gifts of $100,000 or more from almost 5,500 donors.

"We are grateful to every donor who made this great achievement possible through his or her remarkable generosity," said President Stephen Spinelli Jr. "The success of the capital campaign is an inspiring validation of what Philadelphia University is today and where we are going. We've worked as a community to build upon and embed our culture of excellence and innovation. I think we are a role model for a lot of institutions."

"Our graduates are leaders and innovators, prepared to work collaboratively with colleagues across disciplines to help solve problems in industry and society," Spinelli said. "We are proud of them and the devoted faculty who help prepare them for future success."

The Power to Innovate campaign was undertaken to support the University's Strategic Plan and, now, the Strategic Build to further support the University's position as the model for professional education in the 21st century. The campaign's record-breaking total has exceeded $59.3 million.

Some of the initiatives funded through the campaign include:

  • The establishment of eight new faculty term chairs for fashion merchandising and management, industrial design, business, innovation, innovative design thinkers and sustainable design
  • $5 million for student scholarships
  • The installation this fall of three Nexus Learning Hubs, specially designed learning environments built to support PhilaU's signature Nexus Learning approach, and a commitment to build a fourth Hub
  • New academic programs and educational initiatives, including a Ph.D. in occupational therapy; M.S. programs in industrial design, architecture, and community and trauma counseling, as well as Nexus Learning and the new Hallmarks general education curriculum
  • The renovation of historic Roxboro House, the new home of the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service, and the LEED gold-certified SEED Center
  • The opening of the Lawrence N. Field DEC Center, PhilaU's second LEED gold building, built to support the award-winning DEC curriculum

Among the campaign's notable gifts were $21 million from entrepreneur and inventor Maurice Kanbar; $3.5 million from real estate entrepreneur Lawrence N. Field; and two gifts of $1 million from Board of Trustees Chair and Sparta Systems Inc. CEO Eileen Martinson '86, one of which was used to create a special fund to support the Undergraduate Capstone Experience. Several other trustees made generous gifts of $1 million or more.

Many students now and in the future will benefit from campaign funds to support scholarships.

Sophomore Caitlin Powell, an interior design major, received a scholarship from the Maguire Foundation providing four years of tuition support. "Without scholarship funding, I would not have been able to attend this amazing school," said Powell, whose father passed away and who has two siblings also currently enrolled in college.

"I fell in love with the PhilaU campus when I came to visit before my freshman year, I could tell there is something very special happening here," said Powell, a member of the women's rowing team who participates in student groups Habitat for Humanity, International Interior Design Association, Relay For Life and Phi Psi Fraternity. "After a year, I can gladly say that I feel home here at PhilaU."

"We need to continue to create those scholarships for our young students and create the resources for our wonderful faculty so that they can continue to innovate," said Board Chair Eileen Martinson. "Nexus Learning would be nothing without the faculty embracing it and living it every day. We create relevant global leaders that know how to think and change with the world."

For his dynamic chairmanship of the campaign, Trustee D. Walter Cohen was presented with a jacquard woven textile created by Rebecca Flax, an undergraduate textile design student who will graduate in December 2014. The textile evokes a playful interpretation of Sherlock Holmes through an enlarged houndstooth pattern in PhilaU's colors of gray and maroon.

"He gave personally and he led the team for our most successful campaign," Spinelli said of Cohen's campaign leadership. "We did a terrific job, and it is because of the leverage and the love and commitment of Dr. Cohen."

Cohen, a philanthropist and chancellor emeritus of Drexel University College of Medicine, sponsors the annual D. Walter Cohen Asclepius Career Day for pre-medical students. Cohen is a 2012 recipient of the Philadelphia University Leader of Innovation Medal and also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University in 2012.

Jesse Shafer, vice president for development and alumni relations, said the campaign is an example of what can be accomplished when a committed, dedicated group of people works together to achieve a common goal. "That goal, ultimately, was not just to reach $40 million," Shafer said. "Rather, it was to strengthen, advance and sustain the mission of our University."

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SOURCE Philadelphia University

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