Building on Originality: The Campaign for Colorado College Concludes, Raising $478M 

The generosity of more than 41,000 donors created lasting impact for students 

Colorado College completed its most ambitious fundraising initiative in history on Dec. 31, 2021, raising $478* million thanks to the generosity of over 41,000 donors. Building on Originality: The Campaign for Colorado College exceeded its fundraising target by more than $40 million. For more than seven years, the campaign focused on increasing access to a CC education for students of all backgrounds, cementing the college’s distinctive sense of place in the Rocky Mountain West, and funding CC’s unique approach to academics and innovation. 

The campaign total included $302 million in gifts from donors at every level and $176 million in the transfer of assets of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center to CC, which represented the largest single gift in CC’s history. In spring 2021, the college also celebrated the largest commitment in college history from an individual donor — a future estate gift valued at $33.5 million.  

“When we launched Building on Originality, we had a vision to elevate the CC experience for current students, and to make our unique approach to higher education more accessible for the young leaders of tomorrow. I’m proud to say I think we’ve achieved that vision, while opening the door to more opportunities in the years to come,” said Jeff Keller ’91, P’23, chair of the Board of Trustees and co-chair of the campaign.

Building on Originality created a groundswell of support for our students and campus community,” said L. Song Richardson, president. “This community believes in making a CC education more widely available to students with promise and passion because when diverse experiences and perspectives are represented in the classroom, our entire community benefits. This campaign has also equipped students with the resources to thrive once they are at CC, and to think differently to solve tomorrow’s problems.” 

Gifts of every size made a difference during the campaign, as CC alumni, parents and families, faculty and staff, and friends of the college contributed more than $25 million to the Annual Fund — and all gifts of up to $500 during the campaign totaled more than $10 million. 

Scholarships and the CC Experience 

The campaign focused heavily on fundraising for scholarships, grounded in the conviction that finances should not be a barrier to a CC education. During the campaign, donors contributed more than $90 million to support scholarships and the CC experience in the form of outright gifts, pledges, and estate commitments — including the creation of 145 new endowed and current-use scholarships. Thanks in part to matching challenges initiated by Susie Burghart ’77 (Susie B’s Challenge) and the late Will Smith ’74 (Endowed Scholarship Challenge 101 and Will Smith ’74 Scholarship Challenge), giving to endowed scholarships, which generate funding for CC students in perpetuity, reached unprecedented levels. 

Campaign gifts also led to the expansion of student internship, research, and exploration opportunities, giving more students the chance to expand their development beyond the classroom. During the campaign, the Venture Grant program, which enables students to conduct original individual research or collaborative research with faculty during the summer, was permanently endowed.

“The generosity of the CC community will mean so much to future students,” said Mary Ann Graffeo, vice president for advancement. “I am moved by the passion and commitment of our donors and hopeful about our future, as expanding access to CC will remain a priority in the years to come.” 

Our Distinctive Place 

Building on Originality focused on affirming Colorado College’s distinctive place of learning in ways that embody its regional and historical identity. In 2016, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center formed an alliance with Colorado College designed to enrich the student experience by bridging the gap between art and academics, while forging stronger connections between the college and the local and regional communities. The partnership has opened new opportunities for object-based teaching, visiting artists, experiential education, and internships for students. With one of the most important collections of Southwest art in the world, the museum also facilitates collaboration in the visual and performing arts, history, and anthropology.   

The $45 million renovation of the Charles L. Tutt Library, unveiled in 2017, was made possible thanks to more than $20 million in donor support. The building is the largest net-zero energy academic library in the United States — furthering the college’s commitment to carbon neutrality, which it achieved in 2021. The reimagined 90,000-square-foot space is tuned to the rhythm of the Block Plan, equipping students with the tools, expert instruction, and access to information they need to support their learning in a flexible, inviting space. The renovation also increased available seating from 495 to 1,100 seats. 

The campaign also brought to life the new Ed Robson Arena, which opened its doors in October 2021 as the first-ever on-campus home for CC men’s hockey. The 3,400-seat arena will host numerous club and intramural sports, college events, and student life activities. As part of Colorado Springs’ City for Champions initiative, it will also welcome regional, national, and international community and sporting events.   

The Mike and Barbara Yalich Student Services Center, adjacent Ed Robson Arena, also opened in the fall of 2021 as a centralized resource for student health, well-being, and community. The Yalich Center is part of CC’s move toward a more cohesive continuum of care for students, and it also houses the CC bookstore, mail center, an art studio, and space for a future restaurant.  

Fostering Engaged Teaching and Learning 

Donors in the campaign supported resources for faculty and departments to foster engaged teaching and learning – including opportunities for student-faculty collaboration and funding to bring dynamic visiting scholars, artists, and entrepreneurs to campus. Two new faculty chair positions will be realized through estate commitments.   ​ 

The campaign also elevated CC’s robust Creativity & Innovation programming. Since 2016, C&I programming and concepts have been incorporated across 177 blocks and nearly 300 class sessions, totaling more than 4,000 student engagements. Creativity & Innovation grants, designed to empower students and faculty to investigate complex questions and solve real-world problems, have funded numerous student and faculty projects. Funding for a program chair in Innovation and support to fund the first C&I Scholar-in-Residence have seeded Creativity & Innovation for the benefit of students across campus. 

Thank You 

“If you gave to CC at any point during the campaign, and at any level, this celebration belongs to you, too,” said Bob Selig ’61, life trustee and co-chair of the campaign. “I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the big-picture impact we’ve been able to make for CC and its students, now and in the years to come. We are so grateful.”

For more information about the impact of Building on Originality, visit the campaign website.

While Building on Originality has concluded, Colorado College will continue to advance its culture of philanthropy to ensure that current and prospective students have access to the full CC experience, that faculty and students have the tools they need for engaged teaching and learning, and that our community within and beyond the boundaries of the CC campus continues to thrive. To make a gift to the Colorado College Annual Fund, visit

*Includes $9.2 million from Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority counted as anticipated funding for Ed Robson Arena. 

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