In a pivotal moment for New Jersey’s second-largest university, Montclair State University has announced the public launch of Soar, The Campaign for Montclair State University, a pioneering initiative to ensure access to affordable, high-quality education for generations of students to come. The campaign has set a goal of $75 million, the largest fundraising benchmark in the institution’s 110-year history.
“Soar is based on the premise that affordable, quality higher education matters greatly in a democratic society,” says Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole. “The campaign is designed to enhance the University’s ability to provide a vibrant educational environment where students, regardless of their financial means, are challenged and empowered to succeed; an environment where faculty members have the resources to conduct important research that addresses the needs of society; and an environment where the entire campus community has access to facilities that are conducive to 21st-century teaching and learning.”
To bring this vision to fruition, the Soar campaign is focused on achieving three major priorities: educating the next generation of leaders, sustaining a vibrant research and academic community, and enhancing the University’s student-centered campus, as well as growing The Fund for Montclair State. To date, the campaign has raised $60.6 million from alumni, friends and corporate partners during its quiet phase.
Despite ever-declining levels of state funding, Montclair State has grown under Cole’s leadership into a designated New Jersey Public Research University, and it is recognized as a national research doctoral university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education – making it part of only 7 percent of higher education institutions in the nation to receive the distinction of those reviewed for the classification.
To maintain the University’s momentum and commitment to providing life-changing and affordable educational opportunities, the Soar campaign has set a goal of raising $30 million in new scholarship funds. Increased scholarship opportunities allow Montclair State students – many of whom are the first in their families to attend college – to focus on academic pursuits and prepare for future careers without having to work excessive hours in order to finance their education.
“Our donors give because they believe in the work that we are doing and because they believe in our students, our faculty and our university community,” says Cole. “ Montclair State University has a compelling story to tell, and our donors understand that education is an incredibly powerful tool and that scholarship support is often the deciding factor in whether or not students succeed in achieving their educational aspirations and fulfilling their potential to contribute to society.”
As Montclair State University has grown in size and scope, its graduate programs and research initiatives have expanded as well. During its quiet phase, the Soar campaign has raised more than $31 million in contributions to fund advanced centers of research that has both local and global impact.
“Montclair State is at an unprecedented point in its history for the growth of its extramurally funded research and the doctoral programs that will support it,” says Vice Provost for Research and Dean of The Graduate School at Montclair State University M. Scott Herness. “As a member of Governor Murphy’s newly-formed Research with NJ, the University will be able to share our exceptional research assets and expertise with potential industry and government partners across the state and globe in the search for solutions to today’s most pressing societal and scientific issues and in applications of new knowledge.”
Montclair State’s growth in enrollment and academic offerings has been coupled with a transformation of the institution’s 252-acre campus that sits just 12 miles from Manhattan and in the heart of New Jersey’s highest population region. Just since 2015, the University has committed more than $600 million to campus infrastructure improvements, opening five state-of-the-art buildings directly linked to building capacity to support the state’s economic development needs – the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences, the Feliciano School of Business, the School of Communication and Media, a facility for both the School of Nursing and The Graduate School, and the Center for Computing and Information Science.
To complete its comprehensive renovation of the institution’s original building, College Hall, into a one-stop-shop for all student support services, the Soar campaign has set a $10 million goal to further enhance Montclair State’s student-centered campus, including the improvement of athletic facilities to support the University’s student athletes and help them achieve academic and athletic excellence.
“Students must have access to world-class, industry-standard facilities to both maximize their educational experiences and to assure excellent preparation for careers,” says Cole. “The completion of College Hall and the Soar campaign will put the finishing touches on an era of unprecedented growth for Montclair State University and will support the University’s ability to serve the educational needs of students into the future.”
For more information on the Soar campaign, visit montclair.edu/soar