The Future of Hood Has Arrived

Hood students and Blaze celebrating

Part one of the feature story in Hood Magazine fall 2023.

Forging the Future: The Campaign for Hood College

To describe Forging the Future: The Campaign for Hood College as a success would be an understatement. In just five years, a total of 4,828 donors contributed $74.6 million, surpassing the initial $50 million goal by a longshot.

This unprecedented achievement was truly a collective effort. Trustees, alumni, families and friends, faculty and staff, and foundation/corporate/government partners all committed their time, talent and treasure. Ultimately, it comes down to a dedicated campus community rallying together in support of a common cause—a Hood College education.

Prior to Forging the Future, more than 25 years had passed since the College’s previous comprehensive campaign. On top of that, a fund- raising endeavor of this size and scope had never been attempted. The groundwork for Forging the Future was laid by the development of the 2017-22 strategic plan, Moving Beyond Boundaries. As the Board of Trustees began identifying campaign priorities, the decision-making process aligned with the goals of the strategic plan.

The Board of Trustees formed a committee to oversee the campaign from beginning to end. Besides being trustees, the campaign leadership committee members were also Hood alumni. Campaign co-chairs included Janet Hobbs Cotton ’59, Tonya Thomas Finton ’78, Mark E. Friis, M.A.’82, Susan L. Whaley ’74, J.D., and Marlene B. Grossnickle Young ’76, H’14, P’09. For them, ensuring the success of Forging the Future was personal.

“There has never been a time when support of higher education is more critically needed or import- ant,” says Young. “The campaign’s success was due to the impressive breadth, diversity and incredible generosity of donors. The momentum is high, and Hood plans to continue building upon it.”

Two other key players were Nancy Gillece ’81, vice president for institutional advancement, and Malinda “Lindy” Small ’81, executive director of individual giving. Both were heavily involved with managing what proved to be a complex and high-stakes project. Fortunately, extensive research conducted at the front end proved invaluable.

“The campaign priorities were timely and progressive,” says Gillece. “They reflected the direction of the College, where Hood is going today and tomorrow. Our constituents responded positively to that.” 

Small points to building relationships with donors as perhaps the most essential component of the campaign’s strength. “Without those relationships, which we’ve cultivated for many years, we would not have been as successful,” says Small. 

Alongside the Board of Trustees and institutional advancement team, at the helm of this monumental venture was none other than Hood’s president, Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D. Though still relatively fresh into her presidency, Chapdelaine did not hesitate in taking on a campaign leadership role. Her dedication throughout the campaign, despite having to frequently navigate uncharted territory amidst the pandemic, resulted in the largest philanthropic effort in the College’s 130-year history. 

“It was daunting,” says Chapdelaine. “We knew it was going to take real sacrifice and initial investment. I spent a lot of time on the road getting to know our donor base and letting them get to know me. The biggest part was telling Hood’s story—framing who we are as an institution, holding true to our values, helping people understand the challenges we face and the needs of today’s students.”

Clearly, Hood’s story is one that resonates with a broad coalition of donors, who have made this campaign a triumph. Because of their unwavering support, Forging the Future has lived up to its name, and as you will see in the following pages, the future at Hood College looks exceedingly bright.

Read the full issue of Hood Magazine here.