Capital Campaign still in silent phase

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With the listening tour complete and a year of Pacific presidency under her belt, Dr. Lesley Hallick is ready to focus her attentions on the Capital Campaign. The campaign is a process to support fundraising for the university and financing Hallick’s Vision 2020, which is a list of goals set for the next 10 years of Pacific history.

The top priorities for the campaign include collecting funds to construct a new science complex, a new building for the Hillsboro campus and first and foremost, to increase the endowment.

The Capital Campaign was set to launch back in fall of 2008, but was delayed due to the retirement of Pacific’s previous president, Phil Creighton, as well as the economic downturn in October of 2008. As a result, “the whole process just stopped- it was paused,” said current Pacific University President Lesley Hallick, “They were looking for a new president and the economy was in chaos.”

Hallick said the campaign stayed paused for her first year, which was mainly dedicated to setting priorities and getting a feel for the campus. Those priorities were achieved by looking at what Hallick called, “two layers of needs,” the first being what the university needed in the next 10 years, the second being specifically focused on the needs in the next five years.

The campaign is still in what’s considered the “silent phase,” while the fundraising has started, the campaign hasn’t gone public and won’t until about half of the funds are raised, but the priorities for the campaign have already been decided. According to Hallick, an assessment of the most crucial needs for the next five years, from a leadership point of view, are threefold.

“The first of the three [priorities] is the endowment for scholarships; that’s the highest priority,” she said, “It allows you to recruit the best students, regardless of their need, it helps retention; it helps build quality.”

Endowments are helpful for the university on the operational side because they help students pay tuition rather than the university having to discount tuition, which, for the university, means forgoing the revenue and not having the funding for programs. Funded scholarships are paid by donors and act as revenue for the university.

“We’re looking for a $15 [million] to $20 million increase in endowment available for students,” said Hallick

The other two items on the agenda for the campaign are capital construction projects including another new building for the Hillsboro Health Professions Campus, and a new science complex for the Forest Grove campus. Hallick said that these construction projects are considered the top priorities, not because she considers them to have more intrinsic value than others, but because they are “bottlenecks to our own revenue and capacity.”

The new building in Hillsboro is intended to house the College of Optometry and any new health programs. It’s the third and last of phase one of development of the Hillsboro campus and Hallick believes that once the new building is built, it will satisfy the needs of the Hillsboro campus for a long time.

While Hallick said the new building would require fundraising, she also said that the university has partners in Hillsboro and there’s a possibility of receiving federal government aid to help raise necessary funds.

The science complex is considered the top fiscal priority for the Forest Grove campus because the current science buildings are overloaded and need to be updated to accommodate the number of students in the programs.

“[The science facilities] are full, every nook and cranny is being used, they need both modernizing, with new equipment and resources, but also the sheer capacity is insufficient,” said Hallick.

Hallick said she wanted to see the science buildings have a more flexible space. Some of the current buildings were made to support different styles of learning and she said the new complex would shift buildings from auditorium type spaces, such as Murdock Hall, to spaces that have lab stations that allow students to work in teams around tables with equipment.

“That kind of flexible space is what we need, but we need a lot of it,” said Hallick.

A specific plan is not yet set for the capital construction projects, so the cost of the buildings is still undetermined, but the goal is to be in the ground in three years with completed buildings standing in four years.

“People are just beginning to thaw,” said Hallick, referring to the financial deep freeze people went into during the economic recession. As people feel more confident in their financial standing, more opportunities will become available to aid the campaign.

Other priorities on the horizon for the capital campaign, depending on donor interest and if the funding is available, include the modernization and renovation of the University Center, expanding it’s capacity and make it easier to use, expanding the capacity of the performing arts buildings and increasing studio space.

Hallick said that while the “arts” in “arts and sciences” is important to the university, raising money for performing and visual art programs, proves to be more challenging and the success is very susceptible to donor interest, that is, people that want to give money to specific projects or programs.

“People are interested in whatever they’re interested in and you have to work with that.”

In the meantime, for the arts and humanities side of campus, Hallick recommends any students or faculty with ideas to make modest improvements to their departments or programs ability to function, to come forward and make a proposal.

While the funds may not be available for a complete overhaul of buildings such as the U.C., Hallick wants to emphasize that she wants to implement little changes that can be made to chip away at larger problems and continuously improve in small doses.

In the midst of all the changes that Hallick would like to see campus make, she’d like to maintain certain aspects of the campus such as the student to faculty ratio.

“The student to faculty ratio is a very important balance, we want to keep the character of Pacific the same, the ability to access staff and faculty and the small class sizes,” she said.

While the public launch of the campaign may be a year or two away, Hallick said in the meantime she has plenty to keep her and the rest of the Pacific staff busy. In addition to managing current debt, Hallick said that she wants to focus on continuously improving the quality of the university, building programs that reflect the already existing strengths of the institution and promoting synergy between the various departments.


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