Fox Futures Initiative Seeing Success

Positioning MBU for the future has defined President Pamela Fox’s 20-year tenure, including such milestones of innovation as founding the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, transitioning to a co-ed university, and launching the Palmer College of Professional Studies. Fox continues to propel MBU’s forward motion this year, even as she prepares to retire in June.  

The Fox Futures Initiative is a special philanthropic endeavor that both honors her legacy, and fuels the next phase of development now underway at MBU. It’s focused on advancing key academic programs and career-focused interdisciplinary curriculum, as well as strengthening the endowment and funding campus improvements.

To date, the initiative has raised more than $9.1 million in gifts, and an additional $550,000 in verbal commitments. Total commitments now stand at nearly $9.7 million.

“We, the Board of Trustees and the Mary Baldwin community, have come to rely on Dr. Fox’s optimistic, problem-solving, always-thinking-about-what-is-coming-next brand of leadership,” said Board Chair Gabrielle G. “Gabby” McCree ’83, announcing Fox Futures at the State of the University last August.

MBU’s generous donors are stepping forward to support creativity and innovation through the initiative, which has two major components:  

  • The Fox Innovation Fund, providing momentum to continue the university’s evolution
  • The Fox Endowment Fund, building a stronger, more sustainable endowment

Momentum is particularly building around the Fox Innovation Fund, and donors are also providing significant student support through endowed and immediately spendable scholarships. Last year also saw major commitments from Susan Nolan Palmer ’67 and Betty Gold for the naming of two academic colleges, as well as Don and Gabby McCree for founding the McCree Center for Life Success, launching next fall. Gail McMicheal Lane ’65 and her family also made a generous gift toward establishing key components of the center.

“I am humbled and deeply honored by these generous gifts that will enable the thriving future of Mary Baldwin,” Fox said. “It is my firm hope that we can move into the next chapter of our entrepreneurial institution with momentum and ongoing support. To each Fox Futures donor, please accept my deepest appreciation.”

One Fox Futures donor, Lynn DesPrez ’70 has been a tireless advocate for the university since her graduation. When MBU’s Office of Alumni Engagement shifted to all-online programming during the height of the pandemic, DesPrez participated in every single virtual event.  

“In many ways, Mary Baldwin came to my rescue in that difficult year, as it afforded me the opportunity to reconnect with my alma mater in a very challenging time of lockdowns,” she said.

DesPrez has also enjoyed the entire series of Fox’s virtual engagement events over the past six months. 

“When the university asked me for a gift to support the Fox Futures effort in honor of President Fox, I was pleased to say yes and hope that others will choose to do the same at this important time in the life of our wonderful alma mater,” she said. 

With gifts large and small to Fox Futures, MBU donors are investing in the university’s mission, and helping equip students with the skills, experience, confidence, and credentials to yield success in an ever-changing global economy.  

“I am humbled and deeply honored by these generous gifts that will enable the thriving future of Mary Baldwin.”

President Pamela Fox