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Oberlin Illuminate Celebrates Success


Now that Oberlin Illuminate: A Campaign for College and Conservatory has successfully concluded, we can recognize an incredible, historical milestone has been passed. Our fundraising and the level of support shown by the Oberlin community has exceeded all expectations, reaching $317.85 million by the time we closed the campaign on June 30, 2016.

Eight years ago, Wall Street had entered a significant bear market and the shock waves were felt throughout the global economy. In Oberlin, various parties on and around campus were discussing the nature and shape of the Illuminate Campaign, it didn't have a name or a target goal. At the very start, the Board of Trustees, President Krislov, the Development team, and other key partners were debating whether it was the right time to launch a campaign. However, by the end of the first quarter of 2009, there were early signs of a recovery and the decision to move forward was made.

As the quiet phase of the campaign picked up steam, so too did the economic indicators and Oberlin College's most successful fundraising campaign to date sailed into its public launch in September 2012. The Illuminate Campaign made significant progress and hit several key high notes, including the construction of three major capital projects on campus. The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, the Austin E. Knowlton Athletics Complex, and the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center have transformed the face of Oberlin College and made significant impacts on campus life and in our wider community.

On December 31, 2014, 18 months ahead of schedule, Oberlin Illuminate crossed the threshold of its stated goal of $250 million. That number would rise to an incredible $317.85 million by the campaign’s conclusion. In the process, we broke our goals for the Oberlin Annual Fund, health & wellness and athletics, and curricular and co-curricular excellence & innovation, and raised tens of millions of dollars for scholarships and faculty support.

Along the way, many other records were also broken. In its final year, the campaign raised close to $56.8 million, the most in any one year of the campaign. Trustee gave $82.2 million to Oberlin Illuminate, 26 percent of the total, far more than Trustees in any previous Oberlin campaign. Illuminate was likewise successful in increasing the three-year average fundraising support to the College to more than $41 million, an 83 percent increase over the average raised in the three years prior to the campaign’s beginning.

The hard work, dedication, and generosity of Oberlin’s alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends made this possible. Together, the Oberlin community reaffirmed its belief in the unique educational experience that is Oberlin College and Conservatory. Together, we worked to ensure that our commitment to making a world class education accessible can be sustained for future generations. We have illuminated a bright future for Oberlin and, most importantly, for our students.