TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Emma Willard School announced Friday the public launch of a $175 million capital campaign that will support and strengthen the school’s commitment to girls’ education. “Infinite Horizon: The Campaign for Emma Willard School,” with $118,778,653 already committed toward the funding priorities of the campaign, is poised to achieve the largest-known philanthropic investment ever for a girls’ secondary school.
Emma Hart Willard was a trailblazer in the empowerment and education of young women, and this historic capital campaign seeks to honor and extend her legacy. Emboldened by the spirit of its founder, the school set out on a mission to provide its students with an unrivaled education and infinite opportunity. This pursuit gave rise to “Infinite Horizon.”
The campaign, guided by the school’s strategic plan “Leading with Purpose,” will allow Emma Willard School to strengthen its commitment to academic excellence, ensure access for all deserving students, attract and retain a talented and diverse faculty, preserve its iconic campus, and elevate arts education and facilities to meet the needs of its student body.
“Together, we are building a new legacy that evokes our commitment to the extraordinary,” said Head of School Jenny Rao. “Infinite Horizon: The Campaign for Emma Willard School will extend the bold vision of our founder. In the spirit of Emma Hart Willard, we are walking fearlessly forward—guiding our students with intelligence and integrity, with compassion and tenacity, with excitement and enthusiasm for all we have achieved and for all that is still to come.”
The campaign was started by an alumna, Alice Dodge Wallace, who graduated in 1938 and donated a $30 million lead gift to build the Alice Dodge Wallace ’38 Center for the Performing Arts on the Emma Willard School campus. The late Wallace displayed a lifelong devotion to education and teachers, providing for institutions that had touched her life and enriched the lives of others. Wallace served as a trustee from 1988 to 1990, a Trustee Fellow from 1990 to 2005, and as an honorary trustee from 2005 until her passing.
“We are humbled by this act of breathtaking generosity,” adds Head of School Rao. “I had the honor of spending time with Alice and her family and was truly moved by her grace, her sage perspective, and her love for Emma Willard School. Over the years, Alice’s gratitude for her Emma Willard education was evident in the wonderful way in which she helped to strengthen— and, with this gift, continues to strengthen—our entire community.”
“Infinite Horizon: The Campaign for Emma Willard School” will be guided through a campaign steering committee made up of trustees, alumnae, parents, faculty representatives, and current staff. This committee will be co-chaired by Linda Gill Anderson ’77 and Wendy Graham ’85, both current Board of Trustee members.
The campaign announcement was made Friday during a school celebration on campus where faculty and students learned of this bold effort to invest in the community. Cemented in the vision created by the school’s strategic plan adopted in 2021, Infinite Horizon: The Campaign for Emma Willard School has six key funding priorities: academic excellence, affordability and access, advancing the arts, campus and facilities, strengthening community, and the Emma Fund for annual giving.
“There is an urgency in our community to engage the complexities and challenges of our times,” said Lisa Allen LeFort ’72, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Through this campaign, we will build on our history and define anew the legacies that will serve us into the next century.”