Greensboro College

The Greensboro College campus, on Friday, November 4, 2016, in Greensboro, N.C.

GREENSBORO — A record gift to Greensboro College will go a long way toward the college’s new fundraising goal.

The college made a pair of announcements late last week: It hopes to raise $15 million by 2020, and it will receive $6 million — a record gift for the private college — from the former chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees.

This latest capital campaign — “GC 2020: Uniquely Focused” — is the first at the college in about decade. In its last sustained fundraising effort, the private liberal arts school collected about $60 million over about 15 years. That campaign ended toward the latter part of the 2000s.

“This is still a meaningful capital campaign,” President Lawrence Czarda said Monday. “This goes a long way toward supporting Greensboro College.”

The college hopes to raise money in four areas: student scholarships, faculty and staff salaries and training, new academic programs and campus upgrades.

“These four priorities — they’re equally important — are critical components of executing our strategic plan,” Czarda said.

Increasing scholarship funds is crucial, Czarda said, because about 80 percent of the college’s students get financial help to attend school. The college also wants to raise professor and staff salaries, which were cut during the college’s financial crisis earlier this decade.

Greensboro College is considering three new academic programs, and money raised would be used to hire faculty and support staff. Campus improvements might include upgrades to labs and a stronger WiFi network. The college also wants to spruce up the buildings that overlook the new Downtown Greenway, which will run along the east side of campus.

Czarda said Greensboro College began working on its new strategic plan and planning for a capital campaign in late 2013. That’s when the college learned it would keep its accreditation after it had resolved serious financial issues with its lenders and the U.S. Department of Education.

The quiet phase of the campaign, when the college approached its biggest donors, began two years ago. That effort has already yielded $13.2 million in gifts and pledges — almost 90 percent of the campaign’s goal.

Nearly half of the money raised so far will come from Walter and Dennie Newton. The Durham couple has agreed to leave $6 million of their estate to the college.

The family’s ties to the college go back nearly a century. They are the son and daughter-in-law of Mary Hall Newton, a 1943 graduate who later served on the college’s Board of Trustees. Her cousins attended the school in the 1920s.

Walter Newton is president of Newton Instrument Co., a Butner company started by his father. Newton served on the college’s board from 1995 to Dec. 31 and had been chairman since 2012. The college awarded him an honorary doctorate at commencement last year.

Walter and Dennie Newton will serve as co-chairs of the capital campaign.

In a statement, Walter Newton said the fundraising effort “is a labor of love for Dennie and me. We have benefited from the experience my mother had at Greensboro College in ways we probably will never quite understand.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect date for Walter Newton's tenure as chairman of the college's Board of Trustees. His term started in 2012.

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Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.

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