A Moment of Potential and Promise
Beyond Resilience — The Campaign for Chestnut Hill College Paves the Way Toward a Radiant Future
For institutions like Chestnut Hill College, a general endowment—and a healthy one, at that—means everything. It provides security. It enables flexibility. It gives future leaders and future generations the ability to move the College forward in ways the present has yet to consider. And as she nears her retirement from 30 years at the helm of our beloved institution, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., has asked for just one thing: the long-term financial viability and sustainability of Chestnut Hill College.
The vehicle for that ask? Increasing the general endowment and constructing a new entrance to the SugarLoaf Campus.
“It’s really just been an amazing time,” says Vice President for Institutional Advancement Erin Wooley, M.B.A. “We quietly launched a campaign shortly before the pandemic and made the ambitious decision to move forward with fundraising during one of the most unprecedented times in history. The outpouring of support and generosity has been overwhelming. As a result, we are in the homestretch of the largest campaign in the history of the College, with an extraordinary level of participation. And at the heart of this campaign, we are celebrating all Sister Carol has given of herself to the College. It’s just truly exciting.”
Since early 2020, Wooley and the Office of Institutional Advancement have championed Beyond Resilience—The Campaign for Chestnut Hill College, a two-pronged mission to double (yes, double) the general endowment from $11.5 to more than $20 million and construct a new entrance to the SugarLoaf Campus. With just about two months to go, Wooley and her team are almost there, having raised more than $15.5 million. Fundraising for the SugarLoaf entrance is complete, and the campaign continues for the general endowment.
“What the Office for Institutional Advancement has been able to do is astounding,” says Margaret McCaffery ’77. “Yes, there have been major gifts, but what’s been most impressive about this campaign is the number of donors—the sheer number of people stepping up to support a mission that has had an impact on their lives.”
McCaffery and her husband, Mike, Joe and April Denny, and Debby Flint ’59 established the anchors of Beyond Resilience through significant gifts to the general endowment and SugarLoaf, ranging from $1 million to $3 million. Their exceptional generosity provided the campaign’s foundation and has inspired countless others to lend their support.
“It’s an honor, really,” says Joe Denny. “The endowment is everything. It’s a life vest. It’s rainy day money. It’s a savings account. It generates interest. It is mission critical to the College’s future, and I couldn’t be luckier to help contribute to that future.”
Make a personal contribution to Sister Carol’s legacy and the future of Chestnut Hill College.
And that’s really what it all comes back to: the mission. Contributing to the general endowment is backing the mission of Chestnut Hill College: that mission is “a commitment to transformative holistic education, just relationships, innovative thinking and responsible action toward a more unified global society and sustainable Earth.”
Sustaining that mission for decades to come matters. Ensuring that the College has the ability to serve the needs of future students matters.
As flexible as a general endowment is, the College has clear areas of focus for it: enhancing the student learning experience, investing in its faculty, and modernizing and maintaining physical spaces on campus.
“We need to think about what the world will be, not just what it is,” says Denny. “Having the ability to invest in new programming and new courses is going to be critical to attracting and educating future generations.”
Chestnut Hill College will invest in programs that blend the theoretical with the experiential, in courses that are transdisciplinary and foster new thinking, equipping students to discover better solutions across disciplines, and in curricula that encourage deep and meaningful relationships among students and faculty as they work together to solve real-world problems.
Enhancing the learning experience requires a consistent investment in faculty development and retention. This will enable CHC’s educators to embody modern teaching styles that meet the needs of all students and their many ways of learning.
And then there’s the campus itself. Throughout Sister Carol’s tenure, the College has made numerous additions and renovations all while maintaining the sense of place one feels when they step on campus. She has preserved the historic integrity of the spaces while pushing the College forward. Through the endowment, this commitment to modernizing while still maintaining will continue.
“In order for Chestnut Hill College to continue its mission of providing quality education, we must have a healthy endowment fund,” says Flint. “It’s that simple.”
“I love seeing the class ambassadors rally their peers,” says Margaret McCaffery. “And it’s not about amounts. It’s about the common belief in the cause and the mission.”
The call to all who have passed through the halls of Chestnut Hill College is clear and impassioned. If this institution, if the Sisters of Saint Joseph have made even the smallest impact on your life, a gift of any size will impact those who come next more than you could ever imagine.
“You don’t build a healthy general endowment in big chunks,” says Denny. “You build it steadily, over time. A little here. A little there. You always remember to nurture it.”
For three decades, Sister Carol stewarded the College, navigating countless challenges and opportunities. She envisaged a coed student body. She oversaw the construction of Martino Hall, the first new building added to campus in more than 40 years. She facilitated the first $1 million gift from Harold Sorgenti* and Ann Rusnack Sorgenti ’58. She led the purchase of the SugarLoaf Estate from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, effectively doubling the size of CHC’s campus to accommodate not just the growing student body but also to shape a definitive vision for the College’s future.
It is impossible to list all of her accomplishments in this article.
“It isn’t difficult to take stock of this moment and consider just how fortunate we all are,” says Wooley. “We get to honor the very essence of Chestnut Hill College. We get to shape the future. When you consider this campaign, the money it’s raised and the community members who have participated, the College has never done anything like this before. Ever. We are certain that with everyone’s support—no matter the amount—we will reach heights we never even considered realistic. This is a new level for us. The future is bright.”