ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (August 16, 2023) — College alumni, parents and friends helped Augustana College raise $16.9 million during the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The support comes as the college prepares to enroll one of the college’s largest and most diverse classes this fall, with new Vikings hailing from nearly thirty states and forty countries.

A highlight of this giving includes $8.9 million in gifts and commitments to the Gerber Grand Challenge, introduced in March 2022 when Augustana Board of Trustees member Murry S Gerber (’75) pledged $40 million in support of endowed scholarships and financial aid. This giving fuels Augustana Possible, an innovative program that makes Augustana accessible for high-achieving students from families with low incomes.

Kent Barnds, executive vice president, said no matter the dollar amount, the support from alumni and friends of the college is what makes launching new initiatives like Augustana Possible and sustaining hallmark programs possible.

“Supporters of the college show us time and again they believe in our mission, and they support opening doors to students to have that Augustana experience they believe in,” Barnds said, who leads the teams responsible for Augustana’s fundraising and enrollment success. “Strong alumni support is a vote of confidence in what we do every day to help students develop in mind, body and spirit.”

President Andrea Talentino said increased alumni giving, with 18% of grads participating, bucks the national trend and is a testament to the confidence Augustana grads have in the college and its future.

“We know that philanthropy is essential to the continued success and strength of institutions like Augustana,” President Talentino said. “We look at our peers and know that those institutions that are thriving have alumni backing them. We're glad to be among those who have experienced such a positive year.”

Alumni bragging rights go to the Class of 1965, which claimed the highest class giving with 38.6% of members making a gift this year. Their class flag will fly in honor of their philanthropic support at Augustana’s 103rd Homecoming, October 6-8.

The college’s most recent grads continued the tradition of generosity with the Class of 2023 raising more than $620 to create a mural in the You Belong Here Lounge of the Gerber Center for Student Life, making the space a more vibrant, affirming place that reinforces the class’ commitment to inclusion and belonging. 

Gifts to the Augustana Fund, which provides important annual operational support through annual scholarships, programs and funds for strategic initiatives, raised $2.7 million, besting last year’s total by $100,000.

Other gifts included:

  • $224,841 to the Viking Club fund, which grew to include 506 members who support Viking varsity athletes. This marks the largest total ever contributed since the fund was established.
  • $1.5 million to the Friends of Music to support all activities and improvements in music, including the impressive renovations at Bergendoff Hall. Since its launch three years ago, Friends of Music now has 503 members. 
  • $6.6 million new gifts to the endowment total.

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