Long-time benefactors Arthur Calcagnini (CAS ’54) and his wife Nancy donated $10 million to support the Office of Mission and Ministry and financial aid, University President John J. DeGioia announced in a campus-wide email March 12.
The university will use $7.5 million of the funds for undergraduate scholarships, and the remaining $2.5 million will go toward campus ministry. Campus ministry will use the funds to hire a new chaplain and support the ESCAPE program, a retreat program for freshmen and transfer students that encourages reflection that was endowed by the Calcagninis.
The donation is one of the largest endowments Georgetown has received for funding financial aid, according to DeGioia.
“Their generous support advances two of our University’s highest priorities—our commitment to access and affordability and our identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution committed to interreligious understanding,” DeGioia wrote.
A portion of the $2.5 million donation tied to campus ministry is allocated to hiring a full-time chaplain for the university’s athletes.
The hiring is intended to make chaplains more accessible to student athletes, according to Rachel Pugh, Georgetown’s senior director for strategic communications.
“Georgetown’s student athletes don’t have the flexibility to participate in many campus ministry programs, including retreats, due to their academic and athletic schedules,” Pugh wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The chaplain will focus on pastoral care and programming and will also serve the general student body in addition to athletes, according to Pugh.
Arthur Calcagnini, a former member of the university’s board of directors, began donating to the university soon after graduating. He has worked with the university in developing ESCAPE for over 20 years.
In 1991, Nancy and Arthur Calcagnini donated $1.5 million to support ESCAPE. In 2010, the Calcagninis donated an additional $17 million to build the Calcagnini Contemplative Center, the Virginia property where students travel for many religious and secular retreats, including ESCAPE. The CCC is located on 55 acres of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and can hold up to 78 students.
The Calcagninis’ work on campus has already brought important benefits to Georgetown, according to DeGioia.
“Their generosity has strengthened our University in incalculable ways—helping us to bring the very best students to Georgetown and to provide opportunities for members of our community, across faith traditions, to come together in reflection and contemplation,” DeGioia wrote.
As one of the largest donations to financial aid in Georgetown’s history, the $7.5 million in funds will boost Georgetown’s financial aid offerings. The average endowment of the top 20 universities is just over $10 billion, significantly larger than Georgetown’s endowment of around $1.5 billion. The university has cited the relatively small endowment of Georgetown as a barrier to attracting lower-income students to attend the university because other elite schools with larger endowments can provide better financial aid packages.
This article was updated March 18 to correct Arthur Calcagnini’s former position at Georgetown and the size of the CCC.