Alumni raise $1M for Crown College

Funds to go towards Crown College Endowment and Provost Discretionary Fund

From left to right: Susan Nerton, Lisa Rose, and Jim Lapsley
The money raised by alumni will fund the Crown College Endowment and Crown College Provost Discretionary Fund. 

A trio of UC Santa Cruz alumni,  Lisa Rose, Jim Lapsley, and Susan Nerton,  led a campaign to raise over $1M for the Crown College Endowment fund. With the help of 60+ of  their fellow pioneer alumni they surpassed their goal in July. 

The campaign ended with a total of $1,011,000 raised for the Crown College Endowment with some funds allocated to the Provost’s Discretionary Fund available for immediate use. 

“It’s a major accomplishment for Crown” said Crown College Provost Manel Camps. “This will ensure that Crown College has substantial resources to develop its mission for the foreseeable future.”

Each of the university’s ten colleges has their own endowment fund that is used at the discretion of the college provost to fund courses, activities, and more. As long-standing members of the Crown Provost Advising Committee, Rose, Lapsley, and Nerton took it upon themselves to bolster its fund to ensure support for current and future students. 

The Crown College endowment is one of the facets the college uses to help pay for a variety of courses offered through Crown that support student academic success and professional development, as well as activities aimed at fostering student wellbeing. Crown endowment funds give students the intellectual and practical tools to succeed well after graduating from UCSC. 

“The demands for what is needed for the students are going to change over time,” Lapsley said. “What we've been able to do now is to top up the endowment fund, so that there will be a stable amount of money that the provost can count on. This will have some impactful changes in the freshman year with core courses and create some other new classes that are both academic and necessary.” 

Provost Camps says that the funds raised by alumni will contribute an additional $50,000 each year for Crown College to utilize for the purchase of materials/reagents for class projects, student attendance to conferences,improved preparation of core courses for frosh, and to give Crown faculty the opportunity to develop and teach elective courses. 

“These funds really help provide an additional dimension for our faculty’s teachings,” Camps said. “Because otherwise our faculty would only be teaching Core Courses, but they bring so much more to the table in their respective fields.”

Examples of areas already covered by elective courses at Crown include classes in entrepreneurship, communication skills, and digital literacy, see Crown College . Because of their success, these classes often attract funding from other sources on campus, effectively multiplying the impact of gift funds.

The substantial growth in Crown’s endowment will also open the door to the development of alumni and emeriti faculty-supported programs, the design of programs targeting transfer students, and will enable a significant expansion of faculty-mentored internship programs. 

“Manel is going to be able to continue thinking creatively and creating excellent experiences for students at the college level and to help return the college's more academic focus,” Nerton said. “That just lights me up when I think about it because for my intellectual development, Crown College was at the forefront.” 

Camps says he is very grateful to all the alumni that supported the Crown College Endowment campaign, and to Lisa Rose, Susan Nerton, and Jim Lapsley in particular for leading this effort.

“This group of alumni understood from the get-go that for colleges, the most effective help that we can receive are discretionary resources. I didn’t ask them to focus on fundraising, there was no expectation on my part, they just knew what would make a difference for Crown College and went for it. That is truly extraordinary.”

Getting to the $1M finish line

The trio’s efforts can be traced back to the 2022 Alumni Reunion Weekend. Soon after the 50th reunion event—which they organized— Rose, Lapsley, and Nerton began reaching out to their fellow classmates with personalized emails and phone calls. Jim Lapsley took the time to personally call dozens of alumni to talk to them about the endowment. 

The trio emphasized that the campaign wouldn’t have been possible without the help of an anonymous donor, who donated $400,000 and matched every gift made through December 2022.