LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Bellarmine University hit a milestone after raising more than $100 million for its capital campaign.

The public fundraising phase started in the fall 2011, but the school was reaching out quietly to major donors and foundations a few years before. In all, $100,763,781 was raised to help fulfill the vision of the former president, Dr. Joseph McGowan. The funds will be dedicated to new schools, majors, faculty and buildings.

“I’m fortunate to follow Dr. McGowan, who had a great vision for the institution,” said Dr. Susan M. Donovan, the new president of BU.

Donovan started June 1, just in time to complete the capital campaign. She said she’s thankful for those who have put years of effort and work into fundraising to set the school up for continued success.

“It’s not easy to raise $100 million,” she said. “And during that time, we had the recession of ’08. And also, they lost a president and had an interim president. So it’s really an amazing feat for that to happen, and it demonstrates the support for Bellarmine.”

The money is already going to good use. So far, 11 campus facilities were built or renovated. Around $21 million was used to build the new McGowan Hall, which includes new classrooms and offices and a new level for the business school.

The dining hall, chapel and Nolen C. Allen Hall also received new construction. Other renovated spaces include Knights Hall, the Michael E. Hobbs Endowed Physical Therapy Clinic and Joseph P. Clayton Hall.

Other improvements aren’t as visible, but just as important.

“There’s $15 million toward student financial aid,” Donovan said. “There’s 49 endowed scholarships.

“We’re always going to need that financial aid because we always want to keep those tuition payments down. Parents struggle at any college and university these days, and we want to support them.”

The school also started new programs like the Institute for Advanced Analytics. Donovan said the school is seeing more growth and interest in the graduate programs, medical field, physical therapy, business and education.

That growth is also translating to more students. Donovan said the school is “on target” with close to 700 students in the new freshman class this year. The school credits the improvements for fueling a 46 percent increase in Bellarmine's student body since 2005.

Donovan said much of what former president McGowan envisioned has been completed, so now “it’s time to dream big and be bold.” School leaders will soon launch a strategic planning session to handle the rest of the funds.

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