A Letter from
Tammy Bormann '83 and Jeff Porphy '89
Dear Fellow Alumni,
As we embark upon the final few months of The Talents Entrusted to Our Care: The Campaign for Muhlenberg College with $103.4 million in gifts and pledges, we find ourselves asking how we can inspire you to help us in the final push to achieve the $105 million goal, to bring this campaign home. Many of you have supported the campaign priorities in endowment, capital projects and The Muhlenberg Fund – some more than once. Still others have expressed willingness, but have asked challenging questions about the economy, Muhlenberg’s tuition and financial aid program and the steps the College is taking to reduce costs and fight the trend to make a college education more expensive.
The short answers are as follows: under the leadership of President Randy Helm, and in the midst of a turbulent economy, Muhlenberg has balanced the budget, met enrollment targets and avoided layoffs. To reduce costs, the College froze several searches, trimmed last year’s operating budgets by 2.5% and kept operating budgets flat for this year. Mindful of the strain put on families to send their sons and daughters to college, Muhlenberg has increased its financial aid budget and redoubled its efforts to attract the best and brightest regardless of their financial situation.
But that’s not the whole story. The fact that these questions are being asked at this time, in this economy, is a given – and these questions are a testament to the very foundation of the liberal arts education we received at ’Berg, which emphasizes critical thinking, inquiry and effective communication. All of these questions, however, can be summed up in one:
Is the value of the Muhlenberg College experience
worth the cost of the Muhlenberg College experience?
The answer, we believe, is yes! And it’s as true today as it ever was despite the media’s continual focus on cost in any discussion of higher education.
Yes, Muhlenberg is a private institution. And yes, it costs more than public institutions. But think about what is gained – what you gained – by your Muhlenberg experience. We ask you again: what is the value of your Muhlenberg education? What value does your education bring to your current job? Can a public institution – where students sit in classrooms of 500 or more, faculty are focused on research instead of teaching and individualized attention means calling a meeting with a teaching assistant – really be measured against a place like Muhlenberg and deemed preferable because it is cheaper?
Please take a moment to read the essay Cost vs. Value: The Case for Private Higher Education by fellow alumnus Christopher Hooker-Haring ’72, P’09, P’10, dean of admission and financial aid, who makes the case that a public university education may not be the cost-saver it appears to be. Then think back once again to your experience as a Muhlenberg student. It’s a place we called home. It’s a place where we were challenged and encouraged and where we grew up. It changed who we are. It’s still that way for students today, and they need your support. Join us in bringing the campaign home this year; make your gift today.
Tammy Bormann '83
Jeffrey R. Porphy ’89