Published: Fall 2004 in College News

Our Best Year Ever

After two decades of responsible fiscal management, Westmont has improved its financial standing significantly. “The past fiscal year was the strongest year financially in the history of the college,” says Ron Cronk, vice president for finance.

Not only has the college finished in the black for 20 consecutive years, but it has experienced tremendous growth in its endowment, fund raising and net assets. A successful five-year capital campaign contributed to this progress by raising $57 million between 1997 and 2002. Thanks to this momentum, annual gifts and the endowment have continued to grow.

Since 1994, contributions to the Westmont Fund have more than doubled. The total of $2.4 million in 2004 set a record and exceeded the goal of $2 million. These gifts play an essential role at Westmont by supporting scholarships, resources for faculty, technology and campus facilities. It would take more than $40 million in endowment to replace this income.

The most dramatic 10-year change occurred in the endowment, which increased eight-fold to $48 million. Despite this growth, the fund is modest for a national liberal arts college and contributes less than 4 percent of annual revenue. Building the endowment will be a major goal of future capital campaigns. With a cap on enrollment, the college can’t increase revenue by adding students. But a bigger endowment will produce additional income.

During the past year, the endowment’s total return on investments was 18.2 percent, higher than the national average of 15.1 percent.

Two notable gifts added to the endowment in the past year. The late Professor Kenneth Monroe and his wife, Peggy, who died in 2004, left $3 million for scholarships and an endowed chair. The Adams Family Foundation donated $2.5 million to establish a new endowed chair in music.

Net assets, which represent the college’s net worth, rose from $26 million in 1995 to $112 million in 2004, an increase of more than 400 percent. Last year alone, net assets grew $16.9 million, the largest increase ever.

The percentage of alumni supporting Westmont doubled in five years, from 18 percent in 1998 to 36 percent in 2003 (it was 36 percent in 2004 as well). Alumni gave 14 percent of all donations in 2004, up from 10 percent in 2003.

While Westmont remains heavily dependent on student charges for revenue, the college makes a significant commitment to provide financial aid. In the 2004 fiscal year, students received $8.5 million in grants and scholarships they do not need to repay.

For the second year in a row, foundation grants represented a significant amount of gift income: 40 percent. Funds for up-to-date science equipment accounted for much of the $3.7 million total. These grants testify to the strength of the science faculty and curriculum.

Parents and friends continued to play a substantial role during the last fiscal year. Parents (including some who are paying tuition) gave $2 million to the college. Friends added another $1.4 million.

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