Vice President Fox charts Emory's post-campaign course

When you talk with Bill Fox, vice president for Institutional Advancement, about the completion of Emory's largest-ever fund raising campaign, you don't get the sense that he is taking a rest to enjoy his success.

"There is a sense of celebration at the remarkable success of the campaign," he said. "But equal that with a sense of determination about what needs to be done." With the ink barely dry on the campaign reports, Fox is already at work to "find resources to make Emory the university it can become."

This campaign, however, is a major landmark in the life of the University, according to Fox. Not only has it added more than $400 million to the programs and facilities of the University and an additional $100-plus million in planned giving, but it also has proved in many ways that Emory has come of age. The great success of this campaign reflects a confidence in the institution by friends and alumni, as well as foundations, that has been buoyed by Emory's increasing national stature over the past decade.

Fox cites the continued support of the Woodruff Foundation as a major factor in the campaign's success. "Their support has meant so much to what has happened to Emory in the last 20 years. That they continue to support Emory in this campaign is something for which we are extremely grateful."

Emory's growing national reputation, fueled in part by the resources provided to the University by the Woodruff Foundation, has helped open additional doors to foundations across the country, according to Fox, and this campaign boasts gifts from foundations that range from the Lilly Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

This campaign also reflects increased support, both broad and deep, from alumni. "Over 50 percent of alumni made contributions during the five years of this campaign," said Fox, "and in addition to that kind of broad support, we also had the deepest support in terms of single gifts from alumni." He cited the $5.8 million gift of Ely Callaway that funded the renovation of the Walker-Callaway Center, the $2 million gift of Fleming Jolley that made possible the renovation of the Oxford College residence halls, and other gifts from alumni who have requested anonymity. "Those gifts brought us to a new level of the kind of support from alumni we had been dreaming of," said Fox. He also mentioned Emory's relationship with the family of Hugh McMillan '34L, whose gift funded construction of the new law library. "The most touching moment of the entire campaign for me was at Hugh McMillan's funeral. His son said that because his father had made this gift and been treated so graciously by people at Emory, it had extended his life and given him such joy."

The continued support from friends of the University, such as the Rollins family, who gave $10 million during this campaign and more than $20 million over time, is also among Fox's list of factors in this fundraising success.

The last several decades have also seen drastic changes in the role of administrators in the fundraising process, and Emory's efforts have benefited from those changes. "Historically," said Fox, "not all deans have taken a role in fundraising. During this campaign, all deans began to see fundraising as part of their administrative responsibilities; they are major players in every sense of the word."

The last five years in the life of Emory has been a period that would challenge many institutions, particularly ones in the midst of major campaigns. The University has experienced several major transitions, among them the resignation of former President James T. Laney, the interim presidency of Provost Billy Frye and the search for and appointment of President Bill Chace. But even during those times of transition, the campaign seemed to go on seamlessly.

Fox credits that to the strength of Emory, the support, wisdom and action of the three presidents, strong volunteer leadership and a wonderful staff. During the campaign, Fox said, "the staff and I were trying to raise money for an institution which was strong enough to withstand those changes. And there were enough loyal supporters who had faith in the institution."

"I have an enormous sense of gratitude for the large community of people who helped make the campaign the success it was," said Fox. "The campaign would never have gone as it has gone without the leadership of Brad Curry and John McIntyre, who didn't take their role as chair [of the Campaign Executive Committee] as a responsibility, but as a passion, as well as the other members of the Campaign Executive Committee and trustees, who have given hours and hours to assisting with the campaign. I am touched by the number of people who devotedly worked to make the campaign a success."

Reflecting on the campaign brings about a pensiveness in Fox. "It reminds me how remarkably blessed my life has been to be at Emory over the past 25 years," he said. "I had no idea when I came here that I would remain to be a part of the events that have taken place, or that Emory would explode in so many ways. It has been a remarkable blessing."

As Fox continues to reflect on the campaign, he is already thinking and strategizing about how to find funding for projects not funded by the campaign and for projects that have emerged since the campaign began. He doesn't linger long on the successes of the past five years. "The campaign was a success, but our work on a daily basis will not change even slightly," he said. "There just won't be any more campaign reports."

-- Nancy M. Spitler