Bellarmine fulfills capital campaign

St. Robert Gate stands at the main entrance of Bellarmine University on Newburg Road. The archway — completed in 2013 — was one of the new or renovated spaces funded by the university’s capital campaign. The campaign recently concluded and raised $100 million for campus improvements, increased scholarships and additional faculty appointments. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

St. Robert Gate stands at the main entrance of Bellarmine University on Newburg Road. The archway — completed in 2013 — was one of the new or renovated spaces funded by the university’s capital campaign. The campaign recently concluded and raised $100 million for campus improvements, increased scholarships and additional faculty appointments. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Record Staff Report

Bellarmine University announced Aug. 30 that it has completed a $100 million capital campaign that has expanded the campus, its programs, the faculty and student enrollment.

The campaign, which officially began in 2011, has helped Bellarmine fulfill its Vision 2020 strategic plan, developed by Joseph McGowan, who died unexpectedly in 2016 while serving as president of the university.

The plan “set a broad vision for new schools, new majors, new faculty, new buildings and new ways to serve Louisville, the state and the region,” the release said, adding that Vision 2020 set out to position Bellarmine as the “premiere independent Catholic university in the south.”

In total, the campaign raised $100,763,781 through more than 44,000 gifts that ranged from a single dollar to $5 million, the release said. More than $30 million of the gifts came directly from the university’s alumni.

Dr. Susan M. Donovan, who became Bellarmine’s fourth president this summer, offered her “congratulations and thanks to everyone who played a part in bringing this successful capital campaign to completion.”

“I consider it a privilege to build upon the great foundation this campaign provides, so we can move Bellarmine forward to even greater prominence and impact in the local, regional and global society,” she said.

The capital campaign funded 49 endowed scholarships for current and future students, five named or endowed professorships, four new learning communities, initiatives that encourage women to pursue careers in STEM fields, international study opportunities, programs for first-generation college students, the Institute for Advanced Analytics, expanded student health services and more.

These initiatives “fueled a 46 percent increase in Bellarmine’s student body since 2005,” the release said.

Eleven campus facilities were constructed or significantly renovated with capital campaign funds, including McGowan Hall, which features modern classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, a new admissions welcome center and the home of Bellarmine’s W. Fielding Rubel School of Business and the Institute for Advanced Analytics. McGowan Hall, part of the school’s Centro building, was completed in 2016. A three-story atrium connects McGowan Hall to Centro’s two other halls — Horrigan and Treece — which were also renovated with campaign funds.

Other new construction includes the University Dining Hall (completed in 2010), the Clayton Truth Wall outside Our Lady of the Woods Chapel (2008), a four-story expansion of Nolen C. Allen Hall (2013) and St. Robert’s Gate (2013), named for St. Robert Bellarmine. The gate marks the main entrance to campus on Newburg Road.

Renovated spaces include Knights Hall (2014), the Michael E. Hobbs Endowed Physical Therapy Service Learning Clinic (2013) and Joseph P. Clayton Hall, home of the School of Communication (2015).

The campaign also raised $15 million for Bellarmine’s annual fund, which provides scholarships and other student aid.

Bill Samuels, Bellarmine trustee and Maker’s Mark chairman emeritus, served as the capital campaign’s chairman.

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