In his concluding remarks, Fred Beuttler, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, affirmed that there is no understating the enduring importance of the Basic Program and its curriculum, emphasizing that the program has continued to thrive in part by being the beneficiary of generous philanthropic support. “These gifts have provided us with an important foundation upon which to build,” he said, “as we now work towards the creation of a larger philanthropic endowment equivalent to the stature and impact of the Basic Program.”
To these ends, he announced a focused fundraising campaign to secure an initial $5 million endowment for the Basic Program. The proceeds from this endowment will help fund increased access to the Basic Program by providing opportunities for lower-income adults to become students of the liberal arts. Additionally, through increased contributed support for scholarships, middle and high school teachers will be able to continue their educations, giving them the capacity to more deeply integrate the liberal arts into their classrooms. And by extending and enhancing the resources available for Basic Program faculty development, new instructors will be trained and prepared, while current staff will have opportunities to broaden their own exposure and areas of expertise.
“As we look to the future of the Basic Program,” Beuttler said, “we look forward to providing an opportunity for those who are willing and able to do so to include the Basic Program in their charitable giving plans, becoming in this way an integral and permanent part of its future by supporting the preservation and evolution of a program that has already touched so many lives.”
With the formal part of the evening concluded, those present—instructors and students alike— mingled and reminisced about their time in the program. One longstanding student, Virginia Tobiason, was only too happy to share her experience. “The Basic Program changed my life,” she said, adding that her career and education had revolved exclusively around science and finance until she started the program. “It opened the whole world of humanities to me. Being in a Basic Program classroom, surrounded by people with different backgrounds and points of view, has been truly amazing. I’m so happy to be here tonight to celebrate it.”