Construction and Education

Davenport announces public launch of $25M campaign

Part of the funds will be used to construct new college of business.

May 15, 2015
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Davenport rendering
The Donald W. Maine College of Business housing a Center for Entrepreneurship will be a three-story structure costing approximately $15.5 million. Courtesy Davenport University

With more than half of its $25 million fundraising campaign secured in less than two years, Davenport University now is turning to the public to secure the remaining funds.

Davenport announced during a press conference May 8 at DeVos Place Convention Center the public launch of the comprehensive Investing in the Vision Campaign to secure the remaining $12.3 million needed to transform and provide access to education, and support entrepreneurship.

The campaign supports three key initiatives as the university transitions from its strategic vision for 2015 to its vision for 2020 to continue to improve student outcomes and accommodate its enrollment and academic programming growth.

The three initiatives are: constructing a roughly $15.5 million, three-story Donald W. Maine College of Business housing a Center for Entrepreneurship; using approximately $5.5 million to develop new programming for the College of Urban Education; and expanding  its endowed scholarship fund by nearly $4 million to provide students with financial assistance.

The university secured roughly $12.7 million in funding during the roughly two-year silent phase of the campaign from alumni, employees, board members and business leaders in the community.

Richard Pappas, president at Davenport, said the $25 million campaign is based on identifying how to strengthen the institution’s accomplishments moving forward and investing in its future.

“It ends in three more years, in 2018. This is a tremendous start to have more than half of the fund-raising done in less than two years,” said Pappas. “To fund some of the achievements we have talked about in Vision 2015 and to really move into Vision 2020, we are creating this pathway, a transformational future for our students to have to have tremendous careers and, when they graduate, to be able to compete against anybody at any time, at any place.”

Tracy Graham, chairman of Davenport’s board of trustees, co-chair of the campaign and managing principal at Graham-Allen Partners, said a new world-class facility for the College of Business, continued investment in the College of Urban Education, and expanding the scholarship endowment will provide students with transformational opportunities.

“This is truly an exciting time for Davenport, and the Investing in the Vision campaign is an exciting opportunity for the public to join this university to achieve three amazing outcomes,” said Graham.

The roughly 60,000-square-foot, three-story Donald W. Maine College of Business building will allow for approximately 17 percent growth with more than 20 classrooms, and will house a business accelerator program within the Center for Entrepreneurship. With a capacity for up to three companies in the entrepreneurship center, the program will guide and advise entrepreneurs in how to expand their successful, high-value, high-growth companies and ultimately create more jobs.

“This is needed. We thought we should do something that would really help the region with an accelerator. This will add to economic development and add to helping not just create businesses, but expand operations,” said Pappas. “A lot of our board members and other business leaders were saying this was a needed area.”

The layout of the new facility incorporates flexibility and collaboration with a central hub for students to study and interact, an open office environment for faculty members and flexible educational environments, according to the Investing in the Vision brochure.

The decision to propose a new facility for the College of Business was due to an expanding College of Health and increasing demand for more space for business, which is still Davenport’s largest college, according to Pappas.

“We are basing a lot of this on the rapidly growing healthcare programs. It has become a larger section of the largest facility,” said Pappas. “We have already raised more than $7 million for this. We need more space for business.”

The second aspect of the campaign will focus on continued development of the College of Urban Education, with roughly $5.5 million allocated to tutoring, mentoring, a potential parent’s academy and additional programming.

“There will be other curriculum developed, such as a master’s for principals where we will use our business college to participate, and then some undergraduate programs where there is high demand like special education in elementary schools,” said Pappas. “One of the things we are talking about is having some endowed support for maybe a base salary for somebody to go through some of these programs.”

Graham said, fundamentally, it is about meeting students where they are, and the board is 100 percent supportive of the program.

“We think the Grand Rapids community will benefit from the curriculum that has been developed — we think the country will benefit from it — and as a result, we want to invest in it and we want the community to join us in doing that,” said Graham. “It’s new — it’s something we are going to work through over time, but the core of it won’t change. It is critical, absolutely critical, that we continue the development and growth of this new college, which is off to a strong start embedded with Innovation Central High School.”

Davenport’s Master of Urban Education program is intended to change how educators are prepared to teach students in an urban setting by embedding the graduate students within the classroom and emphasizing practical application.

Teresa Weatherall Neal, superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, said the College of Urban Education is exactly the type of development needed.

“Teaching and leading schools in an urban environment requires special talent, with enhanced skills, training and relationship building to ensure all children achieve their potential,” she said.

The final initiative in the campaign will expand the university’s endowed scholarship fund by $4 million to provide additional assistance to students. Each year the university distributes more than $20 million in financial aid, and more than 90 percent of Davenport students receive some type of financial assistance, according to the press release.

Peg Luy, executive vice president for alumni and development, said endowed scholarships represent a true investment in Davenport’s vision, one student at a time.

“Gifts to our endowment transform the lives of students and have an impact on their current and future families,” said Luy. “There are few investments that have a greater impact than those made in the education of students who could not otherwise attend college.”

The Investing in the Vision Campaign is co-chaired by Wilbur A. Lettinga, member and past chairman of Davenport’s board of trustees; Donald W. Maine, chancellor emeritus of Davenport; and Graham. Members of the campaign cabinet include Franco Bianchi, president and chief executive of Haworth; David Frey, chairman of Frey Foundation; Jim Hackett, retired CEO of Steelcase and interim athletic director for University of Michigan; Mike Jandernoa, retired chairman and CEO of Perrigo; Fred Keller, chairman of Cascade Engineering; Keith Klingenberg, CEO of Hydrogen Leasing and president of Davenport’s Alumni Board; Blake Krueger, chairman, CEO and president of Wolverine Worldwide; and Bruce Los, president of Davenport’s Foundation Board.

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