Sarah Lawrence College Announces Historic $200 Million Capital Campaign

October 29, 2015

Sarah Lawrence College has announced the launch of “The Campaign for Sarah Lawrence | Ahead of the Curve.” With $101 million in donations to date, the prestigious liberal arts college, known for its pioneering approach to education, its rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and its vibrant, successful alumni, is embarking on the public phase of a $200 million comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Prominent alumna Barbara Walters, noted broadcast journalist and author, together with her charitable trust have made a gift of $15 million to establish The Barbara Walters Campus Center on the College’s 44-acre campus just north of New York City in Westchester County. The gift represents the largest single donation in the College’s 89-year history and will enable the College to create a magnet for social and intellectual interaction.

Provision for the College’s endowment will provide scholarships and financial aid to expand the College’s ability to attract and retain a diverse mix of students; fund programs that foster social engagement, collaboration and student community and help students find their places in the world; endow faculty chairs in core and emerging fields of study; and fund faculty scholarship and development.

Harking back to the ideas of John Dewey, which influenced the founders of Sarah Lawrence College, President Karen R. Lawrence addressed a gathering of supporters on October 27 in Manhattan: “Our founders believed that students learn about the world by experiencing that world, and they believed the central goal of education was to make it one’s own. These ideas represented a radical new model for higher education in 1926 and it remains a radical and brave model today."

“Those visionaries sought to combine an unprecedented degree of interaction between teacher and student with the highest degree of intellectual independence. Their beliefs, which have guided the College ever since, have enabled Sarah Lawrence to graduate five generations of intellectually adventurous and creative young people who have had an outsized influence in just about every imaginable field.”

Presiding at the event that marked the launch of the public phase of the Campaign was alumna Holly Robinson Peete ’86, actress and activist. Included in the roster of presenters was author Ann Patchett ’85.

John Hill, chair of the Sarah Lawrence Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Campaign, and Campaign co-chair, Trustee Nancie Cooper, appealed to attendees to join them in leading the Campaign to its goal, helping “to shape the future and lead the way in higher education.”