Cameran Lougy Mason ’84, vice president of resources and public affairs at the College, thinks of the newly launched comprehensive campaign—Wellesley’s Campaign to Advance the Wellesley Effect—on a personal level. “I think of the Wellesley Effect in terms of the amazing way it shapes you in the classroom, and the transformation you see in students from the time they arrive until the time they graduate. There’s just something in the water at Wellesley that has this transforming effect,” she says.
But she also thinks of the Wellesley Effect on the macro level. “There’s also the effect of Wellesley in the world, and the great things that are alums are doing,” she explains. “The reason I like the theme so much is that every alum who hears it reacts to it in her own way.”
The campaign is divided into four broad institutional goals: intellectual community, affordability and access, a sense of place, and 21st century impact. “The four areas span a wide range of interests. There’s really something for everybody, and they are all critical priorities,” Mason says.
Intellectual community includes recruiting and retaining faculty, funding faculty research and new initiatives, and increasing student research opportunities. “For a lot of alums, it’s that one relationship with a special faculty member that is a very meaningful aspect when they think back on Wellesley,” Mason says. “I think Wellesley’s faculty now are doing such interesting inter- disciplinary teaching and team teaching. [For example,] the growth of neuroscience and computer science, and the fact that 60 percent of Wellesley students take a computer-science course. Given the field, it’s amazing.”
Affordability and access is about increasing the endowed funding of Wellesley’s financial aid program and extending admission outreach. “Need-blind admission … is a core value of Wellesley. I think the alumnae cherish that, and particularly with the national debate about affordability, the fact that Wellesley’s financial-aid policies are such that students graduate with such little debt is huge. It allows Wellesley women to go out and change the world, because they’re not pushed into a certain line of work to repay debt,” Mason says.
A sense of place—which includes many of the campus renewal projects such as the Pendleton West renovation and expansion—is devoted to reimagining and renovating Wellesley’s academic spaces, dormitories, and athletic facilities. “We’re seeing interest in supporting renovations of academic buildings that support curriculum and pedagogy,” says Mason. “It’s not just, OK, we’re going to upgrade Pendleton West. It’s really, Let’s step back and rethink, how is studio art going to be taught in 20 years? Where’s the field going? Let’s create spaces that let us teach what our students need to be learning.”
The 21st century impact goal is about increasing funded support of teaching innovation, supporting state-of-the-art campus technologies, and developing programming to equip students with the skills they need to succeed at any career. This last priority, which is known as the College to Career initiative (C2C), is emerging as one of the most important fund-raising goals in this area. “That’s something that I’m really excited about, because it really feels like it’s a priority that emerged from the feedback and input of alums,” says Mason.
Mason wants the campaign to be as inclusive as possible. “I want alumnae to feel like everybody is a part of this campaign. … Everybody has experienced the Wellesley Effect and reinforces and amplifies the Wellesley Effect,” she says. “It drives me crazy—crazy—that other colleges have higher participation rates than we do. Because when you talk to alums, most of them love Wellesley. And so I really hope that at the end of this campaign, that love and appreciation is made evident by participation in the campaign by alums across the ages.”