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SUNY Geneseo launches $45M ‘Opportunities Rising’ fundraising campaign

Artwork for SUNY Geneseo's "Opportunities Rising: Generations for Geneseo" fundraising campaign. (Photo provided)

Artwork for SUNY Geneseo's "Opportunities Rising: Generations for Geneseo" fundraising campaign. (Photo provided)

SUNY Geneseo launches $45M ‘Opportunities Rising’ fundraising campaign

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SUNY Geneseo has kicked off its largest fundraising campaign to-date: the $45 million Opportunities Rising: Geneseo for Generations.

The campaign supports the college’s strategic plan by elevating access, creating experiences and demonstrating impact, college leaders said.

Denise Battles, President, SUNY Geneseo. (Photo provided)

“This campaign reflects our collective goal to ensure Geneseo’s legacy thrives for decades to come,” said Denise Battles, college president. “The primary focus is to secure funds for additional scholarships, to enhance hands-on learning experiences for students exploring career opportunities and to connect our students with our talented alumni network as they prepare for life after Geneseo.”

Opportunities Rising is the second campaign in the college’s 152-year history and is its most ambitious.

Geneseo has been working over the past several years to build momentum leading to the campaign’s public launch, securing nearly $33 million dollars or 73 percent of the total goal.

Battles noted that critical thinkers and adept problem-solvers are essential.

“Time and again, our graduates show the monumental difference a single individual can make if given the opportunity,” Battles continued, adding the college is there “to open doors and bridge a gap for students so they can realize a rewarding life.”

The three pillars of the campaign focus on:

  • Elevating Access: Removing the financial and institutional barriers to a Geneseo education by increasing scholarships, supporting remote learning and investing in transfer students.
  • Create Experiences: Giving students the resources to seek out the unknown and preparing them for rewarding careers through opportunities unlike any other.
  • Demonstrating Impact: Working toward innovations that impact the world and create solutions that preserve and sustain our communities through student and faculty research, academic excellence and a newly renovated Milne Library.

With higher education enrollment slumping nationwide and the competition for college-ready students intensifying, Opportunities Rising will help ensure that Geneseo can continue to uphold the foundational principles of public higher education.

Those principles are accessibility, affordability and a commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community that prepares students to be informed and engaged citizens contributing to the betterment of society, its leaders said.

Campaign chair and alum Kevin Gavagan said his experience at Geneseo helped him develop a strong work ethic, which has served him well professionally.

“SUNY Geneseo rests on over 150 years of excellence in education,” Gavagan said. “Our alumni are leaders in virtually every industry, and as such, are actively shaping our world. When I look at today’s remarkable and gifted Geneseo students, I feel deeply confident about our future.”

Keith Walters, director of college advancement communications, said overall enrollment at the school is just under 4,000 students.

Enrollment for this year’s incoming class is up by more than 10 percent and includes an increase in the number of Pell grant students and first-generation college students, he added, noting it was also the strongest class academically in more than a decade, with an average GPA of 94.

Among the college’s popular majors are education, business, psychology and health sciences, such as biology.

Fast growing majors include data analytics, sustainability studies, finance, sociomedical sciences, marketing and a new online master’s program in accounting, along with new micro credentials, Walters said.

Ellen Leverich, vice president for college advancement, said Geneseo is at a crossroads.

“The landscape of higher education in the United States is changing, and the value proposition of a college education is being challenged,” she said. “With your support, we’re meeting these challenges by leaning into the unique Geneseo experience and our values as a public liberal arts college.”

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