Baker University announces start of public phase of $20 million capital campaign

This aerial file photograph from October 2015 shows the downtown area of Baldwin City at center with the Baker University campus to the north, at top.

Baker University President Lynne Murray has announced the start of the public phase of a $20 million capital campaign to address a wide range of school needs.

Murray made the announcement recently at the conclusion of the Forever Orange campaign’s silent phase of reaching out to selected alumni and friends of the university.

Danielle Jones Rease, Baker chief of staff, said $12 million was raised in the silent phase. That head start has Jones Rease optimistic about the success of the public phase of the campaign.

“We’ve always imagined this will be a five-year campaign,” she said. “But we always hoped to complete it sooner and exceed the goal of $20 million.”

Although Baker has had campaigns in the past that raised more for capital projects, the current effort is the most ambitious campaign ever undertaken with the goal of raising money for multiple needs at the school, Jones Rease said.

Money raised from the campaign will be used for six priorities, Jones Rease said. Those priorities and the sums assigned to each:

• $5 million of capital improvements. Those include the second phase of improvements to Rice Auditorium, where the $300,000 first phase was completed last fall. The money will also be used to renovate older buildings on campus, upgrade classrooms and provide athletic facilities.

• $3 million for technology needs and funding to enhance the student experiences through study abroad opportunities, travel to academic events and classroom learning aids.

• $2.5 million to endow professorships.

• $2.5 million for an endowed scholarship fund.

• $2 million for endowed and planned gifts.

• $5 million for the Baker fund, which primarily is used to provide student scholarships.

Jones Rease said the university already received a $1 million donation for an endowed professorship in business and has a donation pending for a liberal arts professorship.

The university will have the first of several planned events tied to the campaign on Oct. 13 at Gallery Event Space in Kansas City, Mo.