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Communications and Marketing

Lake Forest College launches historic $125 million campaign

Lake Forest College celebrates the public launch of a $125 million fundraising campaign supporting students, faculty, and special projects such as the new Lillard Science Center.

The ACCESS Campaign, the largest in the College’s history, seeks to reach the $125 million milestone before 2020. Nearly $85 million has already been committed.

“It shows an outpouring of support for the College that’s really going to move us forward,” President Stephen D. Schutt said. “I’m grateful to so many trustees, alumni and friends for their early leadership and dedication to this important effort. Their philanthropy is critical to the College’s vitality and our ability to prepare students for rewarding lives and careers.”

One of the first large results of the Campaign is the $43 million construction of a state-of-the-art science center to be named for lead donors John and Paula Lillard of Lake Forest, who are both College life trustees. Schutt announced the naming at a ceremony on Friday afternoon that acknowledged all donors to this central Campaign priority.

Other ACCESS Campaign priorities include:

  • Increased resources for strong career preparation for all students
  • Strong support of faculty and academic programs
  • Growth of student scholarships
  • Enhanced classroom spaces across campus

Lake Forest College already boasts one of the largest career centers of any college of its size, and aspires to become a national model for integrating career development with the academic program and the networking power of its alumni, parents, and friends.

“The world is changing and the College is at the forefront of responding to this change,” said College Trustee, Campaign Co-Chair, and Lake Forest resident David Gorter ’80. “Our goal is to make sure everyone entering Lake Forest College, from day one, begins to think about what they’re going to do after graduation and all the steps they’re going to take to become graduates who hit the ground running.”

Joining Gorter in co-chairing the Campaign are fellow College Trustees Wendy Dietze P’15 of New York City, Jim Hunter ’71 of Williamstown, Massachusetts, and Bill Lowry ’84 of Chicago.

Alumni support of the College has been steadily building for years, with recent alumni leading the way. More than 50 percent of 2015 and 2016 graduates have made a five-year commitment to support the Campaign. All gifts made over this period are being matched by an anonymous donor to encourage lifelong support for the College by its most recent graduates.

Dan Turk, a 2015 graduate, is helping to spearhead his class’s participation. “The College’s great faculty, career center, and alumni network helped me land my current job in New York City at Moelis and Company, a global investment bank,” he said. “My gifts to the College will help other students benefit as I did from the opportunities Lake Forest offers.”

Science Center to transform instruction and research

Thanks to the early leadership of many generous Campaign donors, the College broke ground this summer on the Lillard Science Center, the product of the $43 million renovation and large-scale expansion of the College’s current science facilities. Following the next two years of construction, the 130,000-square-foot Lillard Science Center will open to students in the fall of 2018.

“The number of students who plan to major in the sciences has doubled over the last decade at the College,” said John Lillard, explaining his commitment to this high-priority project. “More than 40 percent of first-year students this fall say they want to major in one of the science disciplines.”

Lillard added that “we are strengthening our science capability to round out a strong liberal arts program. Future employment will be quickest and most reliable over the long-term for the student who develops this aptitude.”

Designed to be interdisciplinary in nature, the Lillard Science Center will bring together teaching and research in biology, chemistry, environmental studies, neuroscience, physics, and psychology, as well as a forthcoming program in biochemistry and molecular biology.

It is this interdisciplinary aspect of the new facility that most excites Paula Lillard. An internationally respected authority on Montessori theory and practice, she is the founder of Forest Bluff Montessori School, located close to the College’s campus in neighboring Lake Bluff, Illinois.

“All knowledge is connected…interdisciplinary teaching is what the human mind gravitates to and is the best way to learn,” she explained.

A special area inside the new science center will be the Searle-Dixon Gallery, made possible by the generous support of Lake Forest residents Suzanne Searle Dixon and the late Wesley M. “Wes” Dixon, a College trustee for more than 50 years and former chair of the Board of Trustees.

The Searle-Dixon Gallery—a dramatic atrium inside the main entrance that spans the depth of the science center—will honor the Dixons’ extensive contributions to scientific studies at the College, including the 1990 construction of the Dixon Science Research Center. It will also commemorate the rich scientific history of G.D. Searle & Company, one of the Chicago area’s leading pharmaceutical corporations, which was founded by Suzanne Dixon’s great-grandfather and which Wes Dixon served as president of Searle’s International Division and director. 

Additional Lake Forest area residents who have made significant commitments to the science center project include:

Mr. Vernon Armour

Mr. and Mrs. William G. Brown

The late Henry T. and Mrs. Clarissa H. Chandler

Mr. and Mrs. Aldo J. Crovetti ’51

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel D. Dolan, Jr. ’80

The Hon. Susan Garrett ’94 and Mr. Scott Garrett

Mrs. Harriet Glassman

Mr. and Mrs. John K. Greene

Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Krebs

Mr. David O. MacKenzie

Mr. and Mrs. David B. Mathis ’60

Mr. and Mrs. Harry G. Meadows ’44

Mr. and Mrs. Frank T. Mohr, Jr. ’52

Mr. and Mrs. Ellard (Butch) Pfaelzer

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander D. Stuart

Dr. Barbara O. Taylor

Mrs. Henry P. Wheeler 

“The ultimate success of the ACCESS Campaign will rest on our ability to continue to inspire the generosity of current and new donors,” Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations and Secretary of the College Philip Hood said. “We are working hard to do just that with the help of our Campaign co-chairs and more than 200 volunteers.”

For more information about the Campaign, Hood can be reached at hood@lakeforest.edu or 847-735-6003.

Lake Forest College is a national liberal arts institution located 30 miles north of downtown Chicago. The College has more than 1,500 students representing 44 states and 71 countries. For more information, visit www.lakeforest.edu.