(Posted October 22, 2018)

HUNTINGDON, Pa.— On Saturday evening, October 20, at a gala celebration concluding its fall meeting of its board of trustees, Juniata College kicked off BELIEVE: The Campaign for Juniata College, a fundraising effort with a goal of raising more than $115 million. The college states that the intention of the campaign is to generate the largest philanthropic investment in the student experience in Juniata’s history.

At the event, Juniata College’s president, James A. Troha, said, “Because we believe in potential and opportunity, because we believe in the inherent strength of individuals who grow better through fruitful partnership, we are asking our community to invest in the student experience at Juniata.” Troha announced that the campaign’s quiet phase efforts had already raised $80 million in gifts to the college.

During the event, Troha and James R. Watt, vice president for advancement, announced a number of recent gifts that will benefit the college and support the three key aims of the campaign: supporting faculty, providing access for students to pursue their education, and enhancing learning spaces on the campus. Among the gifts announced were:  

  • a $1 million gift to endow a scholarship, from Carol ’66 and Wayne Pletcher, to support students studying in the sciences;

  • a $1.5 million gift composed of cash and an estate intention to support student research, from Keith ’75 and Elaine ’76 Jones;

    “These gifts signify momentum for the learning enterprise and they matter enormously to our students and faculty. It is gratifying and affirming that so many people have embraced our vision and have demonstrated confidence in what we do here.” --Lauren Bowen, provost 

  • a $2 million lead gift to support a new music facility, from Barry ’65 and Marlene ’62 Halbritter;

  • a $3 million lead gift to support the renovation and re-design of Beeghly Library, from Tim ’72 and Kathy ’72 Statton; and

  • a $1 million gift to establish the endowed George ’75 and Cynthia ’76 Valko Professor of Biological Sciences, about which it also was announced the initial holder of that professorship would be Regina Lamendella, associate professor of biology.

Additionally, Troha announced that in the weeks leading up to the announcement, several individuals made significant provisions for Juniata through their estate plans. The total value of those gifts exceeds $8 million. Earlier in the day, the college also dedicated the new Glaeser Center for Counseling Services, a newly renovated and expanded space for counseling and mental health and wellness needs made possible by a gift from Carl ’77 and Nancy ’76 Glaeser.

“These gifts signify momentum for the learning enterprise and they matter enormously to our students and faculty,” says Lauren Bowen, provost at Juniata College. “The possibilities that a new library will create in terms of programs and spaces, as well as the support for mentored research and dynamic teaching by faculty, all strengthen the distinctive learning environment and partnerships on which Juniata thrives. It is gratifying and affirming that so many people have embraced our vision and have demonstrated confidence in what we do here.”

The evening featured two short videos. One centered on a $50,000 endowed scholarship that Lamendella established in honor of her brother, the late Dr. Joseph Lamendella, and the other focused on the Pletchers’ gift. Watt introduced special guest Rachel Rowlands ’15, presently a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School, studying medicinal chemistry. Rowlands was the first-ever recipient of the first Pletcher scholarship and, in an emotional address to the gathered faculty, trustees, students, and other alumni and friends, noted the value of giving to create opportunity.

Toward the end of his remarks to conclude the gala event, Troha said, “The BELIEVE campaign is roaring and, on behalf of the entire Juniata community, I am thankful to all of you for the part you are playing and the part you will play in moving this college forward.”

The BELIEVE campaign began quietly on June 1, 2014, with an initial goal of raising $100 million. Due to the strong reaction from individuals and the wide participation of alumni, friends, faculty, and parents supporting the effort and the accumulation of gifts prior to its October meeting, the college’s board of trustees voted earlier in the day to raise the goal for the campaign to $115 million.

The BELIEVE campaign’s volunteer chairs are Barbara and Charles W. “Bud” Wise III and Keith ’75 and Elaine ’76 Jones. The volunteer steering committee for the campaign includes Juniata College President Emeritus Tom Kepple, Pat Kepple, Nicole Close ’92, Chris Albrecht, Brian ’92 and Lauren Dietrich, Doug ’89 and Sue Ellen Spotts, Fred ’75 and Susan Wulczyn, Barry ’65 and Marlene ’62 Halbritter, Rich Paulhamus ’70 and Laurie Trexler ’70, Jodie Gray ’88, Ron Seiler ’77, David ’77 and Elizabeth Beachley, Cynthia ’76 and Geoff Clarke ’75, and Lisa ’90 and Ken VanLuvanee.

The campaign is designed to hit its goal and conclude in 2021. Those interested in learning more about BELIEVE: The Campaign for Juniata may do so at believe.juniata.edu. 

Contact Genna Welsh Kasun at kasung@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3138 for more information.