Saint Peter’s begins public phase of Peacocks Rise, its $75M fundraising campaign

School already near its goal thanks to large donations (more than $70M) during lengthy quiet phase

Saint Peter’s University announced Friday night at a Blue and White Ball kickoff event that it is launching the public phase of its most ambitious fundraising campaign ever — and that it expects to meet its $75 million goal.

The campaign, Peacocks Rise, already has raised $70 million during the six-year quiet phase of the campaign — one that certainly was boosted when the school received national attention last spring during its run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Saint Peter’s President Eugene Cornacchia said the impact of the campaign already is being felt.

“During the quiet phase of this campaign, our academic programs have grown in stature and size, our campus has experienced a physical transformation to meet the excellence of our offerings and future ambitions while our pride and national recognition have never been greater,” he said. “We could not have done this without our valued supporters, but the work is not done and we are not done rising.”

Here is a look at some of the impact the campaign, much of which already has been accomplished or is in progress:

  • Signature facilities: Since the quiet phase of Peacocks Rise began, Saint Peter’s has made significant strides to upgrade and renovate signature facilities such as the Run Baby Run Arena inside the Rev. Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center, Dinneen Hall, home to the Frank J. Guarini School of Business, and the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Library. Further investment will continue to modernize the RLC, upgrade academic buildings and support other capital projects that will transform the West Campus into a dynamic hub that stimulates enrollment, engages the community and further distinguishes the university.
  • Transformational scholarships: Nearly every Saint Peter’s undergraduate (99%) qualifies for financial aid. The school aims to better support its students with sustained increase in scholarships from philanthropy, including investments in the Gateway Tuition Program, annual scholarships and endowed scholarships.
  • Greater distinction: The school feels greater recognition of its core strengths — academics, Division I athletics and Ignatian excellence — will propel its students to greater heights. The blueprint encompasses a range of projects, from enriching the Honors Program to providing greater resources for campus and community engagement.
  • Unrestricted leadership giving: The Saint Peter Fund is the bedrock of philanthropy at Saint Peter’s. The foundation of unrestricted support positions the university to respond to immediate needs in a given year, and also capitalize on opportunities, such as internships, experiential learning, classroom upgrades and more.

Since the silent phase began, the university has seen record-breaking philanthropy. Notable gifts include $10 million commitments from former U.S. Rep. Frank Guarini and Joseph Panepinto — the two largest donations in school history — as well as a $5 million gift from Thomas Mac Mahon of the Class of 1968 and six commitments at the $1 million level.

More than 450 donors have made gifts of $10,000 or more. And, of the nearly 8,000 donors from across the country who have made gifts since the campaign began, almost half of them made their first gift ever.

Campaign co-Chairs Kathleen McKenna and Anthony Pergola, a dedicated campaign cabinet that includes major benefactors, board members and honorary co-Chair Bob Hurley, have led the campaign.

Cornacchia said he is grateful for their efforts — which already have surpassed the school’s previous fundraising record, $64.2 million, from the Students at the Center campaign that ended in 2014.

“We are really well positioned as a community to not only meet, but exceed our $75 million goal,” Cornacchia said. “In March, our men’s basketball team showed the world what Peacocks are made of. When Peacocks Rise, there is no stopping us.

“I am challenging our community to raise the bar as high as we can for Saint Peter’s because we need to do the most we can for our students.”

Now, and in the future, Cornacchia said.

“Peacocks Rise is our opportunity to achieve lasting greatness,” he said.