Ursinus received a $175,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust in late March for the Innovation and Discovery Center (IDC), which is scheduled to open Fall of 2018. According to the Alden Trust’s website, one of the Trust’s main focus is on supporting undergraduate education. The Ursinus website describes the aim of the Alden Trust as “the promotion of education in schools, colleges, or other educational institutions.”
Jill Leauber Marsteller, who is Ursinus’ Senior Vice President for Advancement commented, “Ursinus has had a long partnership with George I. Alden Trust and they are staunch supporters of the mission of our college.”
She added, “This generous grant demonstrated the depth of their belief in our direction and Ursinus is grateful for their continued support.”
Will Caverly, who is Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations here at Ursinus described the grant as “A gift of money to be used for particular purposes in accordance with the college’s mission.”
In compliance with that mission, the grant that was given to Ursinus from the Alden Trust is to “fund the ongoing construction of the IDC,” explained Caverly.
According to President Brock Blomberg, “the Innovation and Discovery Center will lead the way in how a new generation of liberal arts undergraduates pursue scientific knowledge.”
Caverly expanded on the purpose of the Alden Trust, which according to their website, was established by George I. Alden, a mechanical engineer and academic innovator, in 1912.
“George I. Alden was a man driven to help society through nurturing an independent mind and spirit. The Trust recognized how we contribute to that educational philosophy here at [Ursinus],” said Caverly.
“The Alden Trust gives primarily to higher education and has a particular interest in the sciences,” added Caverly. “Its founder, George I. Alden, whose fortune fund[s] the foundation, was an entrepreneur, an engineer, and inventor, a teacher, and later a philanthropist. He believed strongly in the value of education. Nearly [a] hundred years after it was established, the Trust creates opportunit[ies] using his fortune.”
Caverly also explained that the Trust will only fund “independent colleges and universities,” and those schools must be in the New England, New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania area. Caverly added that these grants from the Trust only focus on schools that have “more than 1,000 and less than 5,000 students.”
This grant is not the first that Ursinus has received from the Trust. Caverly explained that the last grant Ursinus received from the Alden Trust was for “renovations of the labs in the basement of Thomas.”
Ursinus is eligible to “propose a new project [to the Alden Trust] every three years,” according to Caverly. The college takes advantage of this, proposing projects whenever eligible in order to “maintain a long term relationship between [Ursinus College] and the Alden Trust,” said Caverly.
The Alden Trust wanted to have this year’s proposal by the end of 2017. According to Caverly, this year’s proposal contained “enrollment data and financial data,” while the rest was “a narrative description of the IDC project.”
Caverly explained that the proposal “came together with the help of many individuals around the college.”
Caverly expanded on the application process behind the grant. First Ursinus “scheduled a visit last fall for President Blomberg and I [Caverly] to go to the [Alden Trust’s] headquarters in Worcester, MA [in order to make sure] the foundations ongoing mission to promote educational institutions like ours fit[s] in with our goals.”
Caverly and Blomberg then met with the Board of the Alden Trust to discuss “the strategic plan for Ursinus, the positive direction of the college, and how the IDC fits into the [college’s] Keep the Promise sesquicentennial campaign.”
Said Caverly, “[The IDC] Is part of our faculty-led ‘Science 2020’ initiative, [which is] a grassroots, long term conversation about modernizing our science infrastructure on campus.”
Caverly explained that the school decided to propose the IDC project this year because “the Alden Trust has an emphasis on science education and they had supported our science capital projects in the past.”
“[The IDC] is one of our most ambitious building projects to date,” Caverly added.
The awarded money will go towards the IDC’s $29 million-dollar budget. Caverly explained that the college has raised over $16 million dollars for the 29 million dollar IDC so far and added that the school is “incredibly grateful” to receive the additional funding through the Alden Trust.