December 3, 2014

Salem Academy and College announces campaign initiatives

Salem Academy and College, the oldest continuously operating women’s educational institution in the country, will officially launch a $60 million campaign at an event in February 2015.

The campaign will focus on:

  1. Capital and technological infrastructures
  2. Support for faculty and for academic programs
  3. Scholarships for highly qualified students
  4. Annual financial growth

“These major initiatives build upon more than two centuries of rigorous education in the arts and sciences and enable us to look with optimism, excitement, and ambition to Salem’s future,” says President D. E. Lorraine Sterritt, who arrived at Salem on July 1, 2014.

Sterritt, who has been sharing a vision for Salem with alumnae and friends in major cities throughout the Southeast, says the campaign initiatives have been enthusiastically welcomed by Salem supporters. With more than $26 million raised over the past two years, during a quiet phase, she is confident about Salem’s ability to inspire generosity in support of advancing the institution to new heights.

Trustees Rebecca Hewit Rauenhorst and Jennifer Reinhardt Lynch will lead the campaign, working with a committee that comprises Academy and College staff, alumnae, parents, and trustees from across the United States.

“The campaign for Salem Academy and College will lead all of us to imagine greater possibilities for our students and for Salem’s future,” says Rauenhorst, a College alumna (’74) and community volunteer from Tampa, FL. “We have a responsibility to continue Salem’s mission to educate girls and women of all backgrounds and experiences and to help them reach their highest potential in their studies and in their contributions in the world, both now and in the future.” 

“My Salem experience was transformative for me,” says Lynch, Academy alumna (’77) and a senior vice president with Wells Fargo in Winston-Salem, NC. “It opened doors I never imagined and gave me the ability to successfully pursue my passions. It gave me lasting and supportive friendships. It is a privilege to be part of the team that will help more girls and women to realize their dreams through the Salem experience.”

Campaign priorities

1. Capital and technological infrastructures

A new student center, the first new construction on the campus in 32 years, and renovations to the Academy’s Ann Stone Hanes Library and dining hall were completed in the spring of 2014.

The institution will now turn its attention to building and/or renovating facilities for the sciences and mathematics, residential spaces, and athletic facilities.

“This is the moment for Salem to take the lead in providing students with the best possible education in the sciences and in mathematics. Many of our young women are the next generation of scientific researchers, inventors, and doctors, and we must provide them with state-of-the-art facilities at this critical stage in their education,” says Sterritt, adding that women are underrepresented in the sciences and in mathematics.

Sterritt also recently announced that Salem would break ground for a new College residence hall on December 5. Located on the corner of Church and Cemetery streets, the apartment-style residence, the first residence to be built at Salem in 50 years, will add approximately 95 beds for College students and expand the footprint of the campus.

Both the Academy and the College began the 2014-15 academic year with 12% increases in enrollments. The Academy welcomed 172 students in the fall. The College, which has seen steady enrollment increases over the past three years, welcomed 201 first-year students in the fall—the largest incoming class in its history, which necessitated the planning for a new residence hall.

In addition, the institution will raise funding to replace tennis courts for the Academy and College.

2. Support for faculty and for academic programs

Salem will further invest in its longstanding commitment to rigorous liberal arts education.

“Our faculty members constitute the backbone of the educational experience that Salem offers,” says Sterritt. The Academy and College will seek funding to support faculty development and research. The institution will also focus on increasing study abroad and undergraduate research opportunities as well as on providing additional language study.

3. Scholarships for highly qualified students

The Academy and College will raise funds for merit-based and need-based scholarships to enable more students of the highest potential to pursue academic interests and opportunities, while lowering financial burden.

“We are seeking to continue the increase in our enrollments by engaging in very carefully planned growth. It is critically important that we continue ​to recruit​ the strongest possible students as the Academy grows to capacity. ​On​ the College side, we are not aiming to become a large liberal arts college, just a slightly larger small liberal arts college. We want to maintain our ability to provide students with personal attention, while also attracting students of the highest caliber,” says Sterritt.

4. Annual financial growth

The Academy and College will also focus on sustaining annual financial growth by inspiring Salem’s more than 12,000 alumnae and friends to continue their support of women’s education.

“Salem Academy and College has educated girls and women for almost 250 years. Our dedication to carrying on our mission remains steadfast in the first decades of the twenty-first century,” says Sterritt, adding that Salem has persevered in the midst of challenges to girls’ and women’s education. ​In recent years, options for secondary schooling have increased dramatically, while, at the college level, other women’s colleges have closed their doors or have become co-ed, ​resulting in the number of women’s colleges in this country ​falling​ by about 75%, from approximately 200 colleges to about 50.

“In this context, Salem’s bold action is crucial to the future of women’s education. Salem has endured, Salem has thrived, and Salem is imagining a promising future,” Sterritt says.