In late 2005, Stevenson University (then Villa Julie College) found itself in the pre-campaign planning stage for its first comprehensive capital campaign in twenty years with a vacant Vice President for Advancement position and also having recently ended its relationship with campaign counsel.
The Sheridan Group was hired by Stevenson to conduct a campaign Feasibility Study as a way to bring the campaign to fruition as well as receive an informative reality check about the interest in and potential support for several proposed capital, endowment and programmatic initiatives.
We completed a 50-interview Feasibility Study in March, 2006. The Study tested a comprehensive $33 million case for support for a new Academic Building on the Owings Mills campus, scholarship endowment, academic initiatives, student life enhancements, faculty development programs and annual support.
Our Study discovered that a number of the proposed campaign projects and programs did not elicit significantly strong interest among constituents; however, the Academic Building and scholarships did. We also discovered that a number of Board members, long standing supporters, and key regional foundations and corporations would make the proposed campaign a priority, appreciating Stevenson’s emphasis on the liberal arts in combination with career preparation.
We recommended that Stevenson prepare for its upcoming campaign by significantly revising and rethinking its Case for Support and by continuing to build relationships with top prospects, even as it completed its successful recruitment of its Vice President.
We provided counsel to the University during this period in which the academic building, through sound strategic decision-making, transformed into a School of Business and Leadership and in which a very qualified, regionally and capital campaign experienced Vice President was recruited.
The Sheridan Group then provided ongoing strategic campaign counsel for a $20 million campaign on behalf of the new School of Business and Leadership, scholarship endowments and funds and strengthening annual fundraising. Stevenson’s campaign finished on time, on budget and on goal on December 31, 2009, having run successfully during one of the worse economic periods of our time.