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About Campaign

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Bill Avery

I first learned about Gwynedd Mercy University through the Connelly family, the principle benefactor during the University's early years. The Connelly family provided leadership gifts for building projects over three decades. I learned about philanthropy from John Connelly, and during my years as Chairman and CEO of Crown Cork & Seal Company, I continued the family's legacy of corporate giving throughout the Philadelphia region.

In 1994, I was asked to join the Board of Trustees of Gwynedd Mercy University and to continue to represent the family's presence in the leadership of the institution. Since then, I have developed my own relationship with the University, and it remains among my favorite charitable endeavors.

When I was first asked to give advice about the future of Gwynedd Mercy University, I suggested without hesitancy that endowment and academic excellence become central objectives in the campaign. the University is in critical need of additional scholarship support for students who are experiencing financial challenges unlike those of previous generations. In addition, endowment support for faculty professorships and chairs will further enhance the quality of teaching that has long been associated with Gwynedd Mercy University.

I have proudly accepted leadership of the Gwynedd Mercy University Campaign because it is vital at this moment in the history of the University that we create a culture of philanthropy that will enable a promising opportunity for a new generation of teachers, continue the critical contribution of employees for the health care industry and generate business leaders with an appreciation for global challenges and cultural diversity. Together, we will build a place where academic excellence and service to our community combine to exemplify the mission and values of this unique institution.


The $24 million of philanthropic support sought by Gwynedd Mercy University forms a critical part of the "tipping point" to the future that President Kathleen Owens, PhD., has described. The campaign's dollar total is the cornerstone upon which the campus will build its future.

There are five outstanding features of the campaign:

  • A broadening of endowment to include student, faculty and program support
  • A series of programs that will enhance student life within a vibrant residential campus
  • A commitment to academic excellence for schools and departments
  • A continuation of expanded operational support through annual giving
  • An academic building to provide a home for the School of Business and School of Education


A capital campaign feasibility study is conducted by Schultz &Williams, Inc. and presented to the administration in August.

The Campaign Planning Task Force is created to put the recommendations of the capital campaign feasibility study into action.

Bill Avery accepts his appointment as chair of the campaign.

The University appoints four honorary campaign chair members: Sister Lois McDonough (Sister Kevin Mary), RSM, former vice president for institutional advancement, Frank Genuardi, Trustee Emeritus, Peter Carlino, Trustee Emeritus, and Sister Janet Henry, RSM, former Trustee member.

The University begins the silent phase of its first comprehensive capital campaign, named the Gwynedd Mercy University Futures Campaign, with a working goal of $17 million.

The Campaign Steering Committee, consisting of members from the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, President's Council and student body, is created to keep the campaign moving forward.

The nursing skills laboratory is updated through a gift from Frances M. Maguire '55 and her husband, James J. Maguire.

As the University's School of Nursing celebrated its 50th anniversary, Frances M. and James J. Maguire announce their $5 million gift to the nursing program, the largest-ever alumni gift.

The lead gift from the Maguires helps launch the public phase of the Gwynedd Mercy University Futures Campaign with an increased goal of $20 million over five years.

The School of Nursing is officially named the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing at a dedication ceremony. It is Gwynedd Mercy University's first-named School.

The University begins planning for a new facility for the School of Education.

With support from Governor Edward Rendell, Governor Tom Corbett, State Representative Kate Harper and Senator Stewart Greenleaf, the University begins fundraising for the School of Education.


The success of the campaign helped increase the overall goal to $24 million.


Groundbreaking for the new School of Education and School of Business building took place on March 14, 2012.

Campaign reaches 80 percent of goal.