Bates College Launches Historic Capital Campaign

With a total goal of $300 million, The Bates Campaign launch is punctuated with $50 million gift, largest single gift in college history

LEWISTON, Maine--()--Bates College President Clayton Spencer has announced the public launch of The Bates Campaign, the largest capital campaign in the college’s history. The five-year, $300 million campaign, toward which more than $168 million has been raised to date, will endow professorships, increase financial aid resources, support academic innovations, improve facilities, expand student programming, and significantly augment the college’s endowment and annual fund.

The public launch was punctuated by a $50 million gift from alumni Michael Bonney and Alison Grott Bonney to support the building of new and renovation of existing STEM facilities at Bates.

“The Bates Campaign provides us with the opportunity to secure the programs and values that have defined Bates for a century and a half and to shape new strategies for a new age. We will build our endowment, expand financial aid, invest in our faculty, and enhance our facilities,” Spencer said. “This campaign will be transformational for Bates.”

Given to Bates by the Bonneys' family foundation, the $50 million gift is one of the largest monetary gifts to a Maine college and is the largest in Bates history. It will specifically support the creation of an integrated system of science facilities to optimize teaching and research at Bates. The Bonneys are both 1980 graduates of Bates.

“I believe that never in the history of the liberal arts tradition has a liberal arts education been more critical when one thinks about the future of our society than today,” said Michael Bonney, chair of the Bates College Board of Trustees and retired CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals.

The Bates Campaign will provide comprehensive support for several of the college’s strategic priorities:

  • Driving academic excellence and innovation across a broad front, including endowed professorships and funding for the newly established Digital and Computational Studies program.
  • Allowing for a substantial investment in financial aid, a core priority for the school, which provides more than $30 million in grant aid annually with an average grant of more than $40,000. Forty-three percent of Bates students receive financial aid, graduating with an average of $13,000 in total debt, less than half the national average.
  • Bolstering student success both at Bates and after graduation by enriching leadership opportunities and athletic offerings, supplementing funding for paid internships and Bates’ signature Purposeful Work program, and deepening its core commitment to diversity, community-engaged learning, and inclusivity.
  • Increasing the college’s endowment and annual fund to ensure steadfast financial vitality and maximum ability to adapt to future needs.

“This ambitious fundraising endeavor will strengthen the college for decades to come,” said Spencer.

For more information about Bates College and The Bates Campaign, visit

About Bates College

Located in Lewiston, Maine, and engaged worldwide, Bates is broadly valued as a leading national college of the liberal arts and sciences, attracting 2,000 students from across the U.S. and around the world. Since 1855, Bates has been dedicated to the emancipating potential of the liberal arts and sciences, educating the whole person through creative and rigorous scholarship in a collaborative residential community.

Bates has always admitted students without regard to gender, race, religion or national origin, boldly embracing the transformative power of difference, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action, and preparing leaders sustained by a love of learning and a commitment to responsible stewardship of the wider world.


Bates College
Marjorie Hall, 207-786-8248

Release Summary

Bates College President Clayton Spencer has announced the public launch of The Bates Campaign, the largest capital campaign in the college’s history.


Bates College
Marjorie Hall, 207-786-8248