College of Charleston

Randolph Hall at the College of Charleston campus

The College of Charleston has raised more than $128 million over the past six years, marking the institution’s largest fundraising haul in its 246-year history.

The Boundless campaign, launched in October 2009 with the goal of raising $125 million by June, is the college’s most successful philanthropic effort ever, said President Glenn McConnell on Friday morning before a packed house in historic Randolph Hall.

“It’s an amazing achievement and an important milestone,” McConnell said. “Our donors understand the value of a College of Charleston education and have expressed their vote of confidence through their giving. Campaigns like ours are about strengthening both our present needs while also laying a strong foundation for the future.”

Of the $128.1 million raised to date since 2009, nearly half — $55.7 million — will go toward student scholarships, according to C of C spokesman Mike Robertson. Then $36 million will be allocated to programs and faculty, $17.6 million will support annual giving funds and $5.1 million will cover facilities improvements. The rest of the money is undesignated.

“One of our goals is to make college accessible and affordable, and scholarships do that and they make us more diverse,” McConnell told The Post and Courier. “Scholarships open up this school to people who would never have had a chance to come here and that’s a great thing.”

Since 2009, student aid and scholarships from the College of Charleston Foundation have grown by more than 70 percent through the Boundless campaign, McConnell said. In that time, the college’s endowment also has grown by more than 60 percent.

News of the college’s record fundraising effort comes five months after college leaders reported a budget shortfall of $1.5 million, equal to about half of 1 percent of the college’s $263.9 million budget. That figure was raised to $2.1 million at the end of November after tallying final fall enrollment. The college’s Board of Trustees responded to the deficit largely by eliminating vacant staff and faculty positions and making other across the board spending cuts.

“We’re not in any financial trouble,” McConnell said.

In addition to thanking donors, McConnell called on alumni to continue supporting the college. McConnell said 9,400 alumni have already donated to the campaign. He wants to increase that number to 10,000 by the end of June, when the Boundless campaign officially ends.

“As alumni, we have a responsibility to care for this institution, to ensure that it not only goes on, but that it goes forth stronger,” he said. “The college is in our collective DNA. So, let’s come together now to ensure that it is passed on to future generations of students.”

Reach Deanna Pan at 843-937-5764.