It was an extraordinary year for North Central College … beginning with a record class of first-year students … ending with successful completion of the Kresge Fine Arts Challenge … and along the way producing an ambitious Strategic Plan destined to take the College to ever greater distinction as we celebrate our Sesquicentennial in 2011-2012.
And, yes, over the course of 2006-2007, we also won seven team athletic championships, the most of any school in our conference … including football, for the first time in 46 years!
North Central College is not a school that is comfortable with puffery. After nearly 17 years as president, I know this better than most. An enduring legacy of the College’s evangelical heritage is a recognition that whatever successes we experience we owe to God’s grace and to the generosity of spirit of those who, for nearly a century and a half, have chosen this college as a place to witness for their values … and the future.
When I reflect upon how unlikely it appeared at times during 2006-2007 that we would meet the extraordinarily ambitious $7 million challenge target established by The Kresge Foundation, I am reminded of the wisdom of those who bequeathed this school to us. Never get smug. When you have accomplishments and success, don’t confuse those accomplishments with the reason for that success … which is the mission of the College, a cause as vital and necessary and deserving of support in 2007 as it was in 1861 when North Central was founded.
The figures in this Annual Report tell a powerful story—a $22 million gain in net assets, record numbers of Presidents Club donors, 41 gifts or binding pledges of $50,000 or more, growth in the endowment to nearly $80 million. These figures are not puffery, they’re facts, and, like our audit report posted on the North Central website in the interest of transparency, they speak for themselves.
But far more important in this report are the stories of the people who are North Central College, and whose commitment to—and embodiment of—the mission of the College is the real measure of our success. Their stories are your stories, and those of the thousands and thousands of alumni and friends who joined hands this past year in support of this historic institution. In thanking them, and all of you, for your belief in the College today—and the College that is yet to come—I think we best honor that faith by never forgetting your underlying message. Preparing students to be informed, involved, principled and productive citizens and leaders over their lifetime—our mission—and, every day, every month, every year, working to do it better … is the only standard of success that matters. By that standard, we had a very good year. But we need to follow it with another … and another … and another … and another.
God bless you all!
Harold R. Wilde
North Central Now, Annual Report 2007