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College Community Rallies to Support WeAreCNR Campaign

January 10, 2017
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In just over two months, The College of New Rochelle has raised more than $7 million for its WeAreCNR campaign – a testament to the amazing generosity and commitment of the College’s dedicated alumnae/i, loyal faculty and staff, and the greater CNR community. These gifts include a $5 million donation from an anonymous benefactor to ensure the College’s future as a thriving institution committed to its Ursuline mission of service. When the campaign began in October 2016, the CNR Community responded with a resounding, “How can we help?” And help they did, in every way imaginable.

“In addition to the generous support of our alumnae/i, faculty, staff, students and friends, we had 100 percent participation from our Board and our Executive Team in helping us to reach this goal,” said Gwen Adolph, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “The result was a sense of community and commitment to make CNR successful, at a time when we had all but run out of options to save this institution we love.”

“We are now looking toward the 2018 academic year, which requires our continued best fundraising efforts to meet the needs of our students and to further strengthen The College of New Rochelle,” said Lillian Brennan Carney SAS’69, trustee and chair of the College’s Development Committee. 

“We are clearly at a crossroad, grateful for the support of our alumnae/i but mindful of the uphill road ahead,” said Alumnae/i Board President Marlene Melone Tutera SAS’71. “Fueled by a deep desire to restore The College of New Rochelle as a new modern center for culture and learning, our alumnae/i leaders promise to join the Board of Trustees, the Alumnae/i Association, administrative staff and faculty in making sure we secure a transparent future for our CNR Community.”

A vital first step in the WeAreCNR Campaign launched last fall was to communicate to the College’s publics what had happened and how they could be most helpful.  A task force of alumnae/i and friends was formed to expand communication efforts and encourage financial support to reach the significant milestone needed to maintain the College’s operations.  In collaboration with the offices of College Relations and Alumnae/i Relations, students, alumnae, faculty, and staff recorded “I Am CNR” video tributes.  These heartfelt messages were part of a web/social media effort to remind viewers of all that their support was helping to provide.   

“I had professors who helped me really understand where I was coming from and where I could go,” Becca Mui SAS '07 stated in her video. “With their support and the things that I learned, I pursued a career in social justice education. I get to wake up every day and do something that I love and care about that is making a difference.”

Current students Imani Debose SAS’20 and Fabiola Padilla Rios SAS’18 shared their excitement at being part of the women’s volleyball team during its first trip to the NCAA Division III Championship. “We’re making history!” Debose said.

“The College of New Rochelle is special because of the students and how much they teach me,” said Amy Bass, professor of history and director of the Honors Program. “On any given day I learn more from them than they learn from me. . . Every part of every day is this exchange of ideas, this exchange of learning, and it’s unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been.”

As board members and senior administrators worked to stabilize the College’s finances, members of the task force gathered information, drafted emails and letters, made countless phone calls, and held events in their homes to inform their classmates, colleagues, and friends of what had happened and how they could help.  They were joined by members of the Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors and other key CNR volunteers in all of these efforts.  Faculty Senate co-chairs Teri Gamble, professor of communication studies, and Michael Gilliam, assistant professor of mathematics, coauthored an opinion piece that was published in The Journal News. Titled “For College of New Rochelle, The Mission Remains,” the article outlined the many ways CNR enhances the lives of its students and broader community.

“With a curricular emphasis on the service professions, CNR equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to pass on what they learn so they can better our society,” they wrote. “Our graduates work and serve in your communities in science, health care, law, education, public and nonprofit organizations, communications, the arts, and social services. They have gone on to become judges, corporate officers, captains of entertainment, therapists, artists, and entrepreneurs.”

A few days before Christmas, the milestone goal of $7 million in cash and pledges was achieved – exceeded, actually.  The enormous efforts of the entire CNR Community, and evident capacity for generosity in support of all CNR students, made this achievement possible.  While there is still much to do, much has been done to sustain The College of New Rochelle.  Thank you!