One for All, All for One

16 November 2020
By Steven G. Poskanzer

As Every Carl for Carleton enters its final stage, great success is accompanied by new challenges and goals.

colorful illustration of people on campus

Throughout my time at Carleton, I have been humbled by the ways in which generations of alumni, parents, and friends step up to support the college and its students, often at levels that make our peer schools envious.

We marked a singular example of this stewardship in early August, as we crossed the $400 million target in the Every Carl for Carleton fund-raising campaign. This is truly a remarkable milestone, especially given that there are several months to go before the campaign officially ends. Our work is not finished, however.

Together, we can push campaign giving to ever-higher, record-smashing levels, with a particular focus on financial aid and the Alumni Annual Fund, two areas that are essential to recruiting and supporting the brightest and most talented young people, regardless of where they come from or their financial backgrounds.

We aim to raise $150 million in newly endowed funds designated for financial aid scholarships. Achieving this goal, and adding these new scholarship dollars to generous gifts from prior donors, would drive up the percentage of scholarships covered by endowment from 28 to 40 percent, and enable the college to award $15 million in annual, spendable income for need-based scholarships every year in perpetuity.

Endowed scholarships are vital in allowing Carleton to assemble student cohorts that bring new and cherished levels of racial, socioeconomic, geographic, and other kinds of diversity. We want and need more students from low-income and middleincome families. We want and need more students who are the first generation in their family to go to college, and more international students from Africa and Latin America. And as America continues to reckon with its failure to achieve genuine racial equity, we want and need more students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

We are moving in the right direction. In the 2019–20 academic year, a record high 30 percent of the student body consisted of domestic students of color, and 11 percent were international students. What’s more, we recently welcomed 459 young people from 45 states and 20 countries to the Class of 2024, making it the most diverse class in the college’s history: 38 percent of those enrolled are Black, Indigenous, or people of color; 14 percent are first-generation students; and 17 percent are Pell-eligible (low-income). As always, Carleton met the full financial need of all new students.

The pandemic has hit colleges hard. As a result, many institutions have slashed financial aid budgets. I’m proud to report that this has not been Carleton’s path. While we have made difficult but necessary budget cuts in other areas, we did not reduce financial aid. In fact, the amount of financial aid awarded per student increased this year.

We must keep this momentum going by raising more money for scholarships — both to grow our ranks of underrepresented students, and to assist students and families who have been buffeted by the pandemic and its economic turmoil.

Along with our commitment to financial aid, we have set our sights on bolstering the annual fund and reaching $10 million in yearly giving by June 30, 2021. The annual fund is truly the lifeblood of the college. It provides us with the flexibility to meet our most pressing needs, including emergency assistance for students and support for their physical and mental health; academic resources for the library; internships and externships through the Career Center; faculty-mentored research opportunities; and courses to engage students in community-based scholarship.

Throughout the college’s history, our community has willingly met the challenge of keeping Carleton superb and educationally distinctive. Today, we answer this clarion call once more — and, with your shared belief in academic excellence, we will meet the challenge. Indeed, your understanding, your generosity, and your devotion sustain us and ensure Carleton’s attainment of its mission. We thank you!

— Steven G. Poskanzer, Carleton College President