Drake University officials announced Monday that a fundraising goal has been reached six months ahead of schedule. The “distinctlyDrake” campaign was launched in October 2010 with a goal of reaching $200 million by June 30, 2015.
More than 22,000 donors responded to help Iowa’s largest private university reach the fundraising target. The man who was recently selected to become Drake’s 13th president says the generosity of Iowans and the school’s alumni is one thing that attracted him to the job.
Earl “Marty” Martin spoke about the five-year fundraising effort when he was introduced as Drake’s president-elect last month. “It really is incredibly important, in this day and age in particular with all of the turmoil that we have in higher education, that support is there and that it grows,” Martin said. “There’s every sense that is the case here and the distinctlyDrake campaign is a just prime example of that.”
More than 60 of the gifts to the campaign were of $1 million or more. The contributions will help finance an initiative known as STEM@DRAKE. The plan includes the development of six new degree programs and $65 million in new construction and renovation.
“You’ve got some wonderful new programs coming online. The data analytics and occupational therapy degrees, just to name a couple of them…those are very relevant programs for the 21st century,” Martin said. “They’re going to prepare even more of our graduates to do spectacular things when they leave (Drake) and go out into the world.”
The 53-year-old Martin is currently the executive vice-president at Gonzaga University. He’ll become the new president of Drake University on July 1. Drake’s current president, David Maxwell, is retiring this summer after 16 years of leading the university that has an enrollment of roughly 5,100 students.