Regions Southwest Virginia

​College has big plans for $200 million campaign

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli

Roanoke College launched its campaign last spring.
Roanoke College launched its campaign last spring.

Roanoke College in Salem may be small — the student population is approximately 2,100 — but it’s dreaming big. This spring the private liberal arts college launched its largest campaign ever, “Roanoke Rising,” which aims to raise $200 million in time for its 175th anniversary in 2017.  

About $130 million already has been raised, including a $25 million gift from the Mulheren family of New Jersey and Paint Bank.  “This campaign is a great way for us to articulate our ambition as an institution,” says Roanoke College’s president, Michael Maxey.

Those ambitions include constructing the Cregger Center, a building that would be used for academics, community events and athletics. It will have a 2,500-seat-capacity gym and the Roanoke Valley’s only competitive indoor track.

Another priority is renovating and expanding the school’s science complex. The college’s current science facility was built in 1970.  The new buildings are “both huge statements for us about what’s important here, and they’ll be practical benefits for providing modern education,” Maxey says.

Campaign contributions also would be used to support other facilities, academic programs, faculty and students, including scholarships to allow more people to study at Roanoke College (tuition for the 2013-14 academic year is $35,108).

Maxey, who has been president since 2007, wanted to begin the campaign several years ago, but that effort was stalled, in part, because of the economy. The college has been making progress for a long time, he says.  “It’s been a steady, sustained progress, and this campaign lets us take that and stand on it and see farther than people have been able to see before.”

Roanoke College traces its roots to 1842 when it was started as the Virginia Institute, a boys prep school just outside of Staunton. The institute became Roanoke College in 1853 and was admitting women by 1930. In 2012, the college was named No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Up and Coming National Liberal Arts Colleges.


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