Hendrix College 1999 Board Speech

By President Timothy J Cloyd

Note: These speeches have been digitized from print documents. During this process, formatting and other errors sometimes occur. I am correcting mistakes as I see them, but be aware that these speeches may still contain unintentional errors. I also give special thanks to Helen Plotkin for her help editing and researching these speeches.

Thank you Dr. Die.

I have been asked to talk about the campaign today. But I want to start by trying to give you a feeling of the sentiment that is out there, in the broader Hendrix community, for this college and its purposes.

Picture with me for a moment Hendrix College in 1931.

The buildings were different. The natural and economic environment was different.

And many things have changed…some things are changing even today as we meet…But there is a lot that has remained the same.

One of the students in 1931 was R.C. Wood. When Mr. Wood graduated he moved back to El Dorado.

He never forgot Hendrix. The experience here transformed his life.

“It taught me to work hard,” he would say and it did.

“It taught me to have integrity,” he would say and it did

It taught me to have fun” and it did, he had a great smile.

He worked hard all his life.

Mr. Wood and his wife, Charlotte did not make a lot of money, but they saved.

He stayed in touch with Hendrix. Coming up from time to time, attending alumni events.

Mr. Wood had a spiritual affinity with Hendrix. Part of his love for this place was expressed in the way he encouraged kids to attend and he helped them out if he could.

Mr. Wood worked as a chemist his entire career in El Dorado.

Two and ½ years ago his wife died and at age 87 he moved into a nursing home. His health began to decline.

But we continued to visit with him when we were in El Dorado.

He loved to tell and retell stories of his Hendrix days.

Mr. Wood lived in one 12 x 20-foot room. He had a bed and a lazy boy. That’s it!  NO TV or CD sound system.

His pride though was one of those bird song clocks. You know the type….10 am blue bird….9 am cardinal. That’s all he had except of course his books….he was a Hendrix alum.

One day after I had been to see him and told him about all of these projects in the campaign, his broker called and said Mr. Wood would like to make a gift to the college.

Now, Mr. Wood had made small gifts from time to time but on this occasion he transferred $170,000 to the college.

When I called to thank him and asked if I could come see him he said “now you can but, I don’t have anymore to give to Hendrix”

I assured him that was okay, but that we just wanted to visit with him from time to time…..

So Rock, Bob, Leah, and I went and visited with him from time to time…..

Mr. Wood on all those occasions talked about the Hendrix faculty who touched his life and the friends he made here who throughout his life continued to remind him who he was and from where he had come.

You see Hendrix, this place had defined him in ways he nurtured and grew through his lifetime.

He loved what this faculty had done for him and he wanted to make sure others had the same opportunity.

When he died in June, his lawyer called and informed me that Mr. Wood in Feb. 1999 had decided to leave over $550,000 to Hendrix

…..over $550,000.

WOW! Mr. Wood could have lived in more than one room. He could have had a TV, he could have had as many of those bird song clocks from Wal-Mart as he wanted.

But stuff was not important to Mr. Wood.

He left all that he had saved to you…Yes that’s right to you …to us…faculty, trustees, students, staff, and this entire community for your dream, for these projects in this campaign.

He gave this gift out of passion and gratitude and out of his spiritual connection…. to you… to this community…..

Mr. Wood captures the sentiment that many, many former students have for this institution, for the faculty, and for these students.

Consider other examples of the spirit of this campaign from friends of the college….

A little over a year ago Dr. Die and I visited Tyndall Dickinson.

We asked him for $500,000 for this campaign. Tyndall smiled and said he just didn’t know…He is a W&L grad you know…

But, he said, “I do believe in Hendrix College…I believe in your standards of excellence and your commitment to quality. He said Hendrix was a beacon in this state.

The next week Tyndall called he did not pledge $500,000…He pledged $600,000… And within a month or two he had pledged another $1,000,000.

We have had experience after inspirational experience with board members stepping up in ways that went far beyond what was expected of their leadership.

Many of you closed or helped to close on 100,000, 500,000, and even 1,000,000 gifts. Many of you doubled your pledges.

I will never forget one day we received a stock transfer from a board member. When I did the calculations I realized that this board member had over paid the pledge by $200,000. I had a development dilemma.

So I called the board member and told him that he had overpaid and he said “ well, Hendrix needs the money….The college is doing great things…keep it.”

Then there was the board member whom we all know. We asked for a $1.4 million gift and he said yes! And not only, yes, but also I will work to ask my company to match this gift….$2.8 million later we have the Charles D. Morgan Center and Axciom Hall.

There are hundreds of examples of board leadership

And hard work by this faculty and this dedicated staff…

Take a long look around today, look at this construction, and look at the students who are the beneficiaries of your hard work and your gifts of service and money…

This is all of your doing,

Faculty. You with the expertise, vision, and careful planning

The board and the president

with your vision, your leadership, and your ability to inspire the entire community

And the staff with your long hours of work to support the operation of the college and to obtain the resources to support this core vision and mission.

And the students…you motivate and inspire us and you help define the direction of the institution.

Once on the campaign trail – I was expressing the deepest gratitude on behalf of the college to a donor.

The donor stopped me and said “You don’t understand I am doing this because it is only in giving of myself that I find meaning”

In development we often say major gifts are driven by passion or pain, but this donor reminded me that those emotions are often related to a deeper search for purpose and meaning.

So this campaign….this ask for support…this opportunity to give for all of these projects and this vision

In many cases this has given friends, alumni, and many others a sense of purpose…of focus in participating in a common cause…for the common good….it has drawn us out of ourselves.

It has not all been fun.

Of course there have been bumps, slips, mistakes, disappointments, and sorrows along the way.

  • We had an unbelievable and a times painful pace of operation
  • There have been significant staff changes and there are new faces
  • We had the Jones gift…. and then we didn’t
  • We had a shoot at Olin…and then not
  • The single real human tragedy was the loss of our friend Roger

Despite all of the challenges this board stood by this vision, the faculty kept working on the detailed hard job of planning, and the staff kept up the hope and the pace….

Yes, there were days when we took comfort in the words of Marcs Arrilious the great Roman Stoic “ Where there is a tree to hang yourself on there is hope”…..

But consider the scale of what this small institution carried off with just a little over 13,000 alumni….

This campaign reached out and touched alumni and friends from across the United States…..from LA…(Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica) to NY (the Algonquine hotel) to DC, Houston, Atlanta,

And that incredible night in Nashville at the Predators game…compliments of our own Craig Leipold.

And then the numerous events all across Arkansas.

In total we held 34 events in 5 months

We are following up in those cities….

According to Dean Churchill and Professor Teague the vision for these projects started in 1991

This campaign has been a foot from December 1994 and will end on December 31, 1999.

And look what your vision, your leadership, your work, and your inspiration has produced.

Our consultants said we could only raise $36 million and they were counting on the Jones gift.

Today we are at $45.8 million (Slide 2)

How is this broken down (Slide 3)

What is the range of gifts in this campaign? (Slide 4)

Look at alumni participation! (slide 5)

Wow! What an accomplishment for our college!

Our consultants missed the mark when they said we could only raise $36 million

Our consultants did not predict the role of momentum.

They underestimated the spirit of this place and what the fundamental strength and quality of this institution would inspire.

And they somehow missed the role that the energetic and tenacious leadership of Ann Die would play in launching and sustaining the momentum for this effort.

Our consultants also underestimated the role of a strong stock market…

Fortunately for all of us Tim Hill did not miss the mark on the market and he has helped put us in great shape….

Tim and the board’s investment strategies helped position us for success in this campaign by providing additional resources…Thank you, Tim

As I said we will finish this campaign on December 31, 1999…

We still have a way to go until then….

So we want to secure as many new gifts and pledges by December 31….

Did you know that next year will be the 125th anniversary of Hendrix College

Next Year We will celebrate springtime on this campus in a number of ways:

the transformation of the physical facilities on campus mirrors the hard work of the faculty in transforming the curriculum.

We know all is not through…The exciting opportunity to rebuild Hulen has been delayed, but we hope not for long…..

Hendrix alumni are civic leaders….and their spirit of involvement and leadership starts here on campus. That is in part why a new campus center is critical….

We know our next capital project will be this building and then perhaps Grove or Bulher…

But for now let us celebrate the single largest comprehensive campaign in the history of the college….

This is your campaign and this is your college. Your support has helped to build on to this historic and stellar institution.

Thank you

Thanks to all of you for working together toward this common good.

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