Milestones: Major building efforts marked first five years

By Gary Martyn
The first five years—2007-12*

Between 2007 and 2012, two major building campaigns changed the skyline and landscape of the Air Force Academy, illustrating the impact private philanthropy can have on the institution.

When it was established in 2007, the USAFA Endowment built upon the foundation of more than 50 years of philanthropy and focused its efforts on expanding the excellence of the Academy’s programs and projects.

The financial involvement of Academy graduates and friends during the first five years (2007-12) raised the bar to new levels of private, foundation and corporate giving for the Endowment.


A highlight of those first five years was securing private funds to cover 100 percent of the $15.5 million needed to build the Holaday Athletic Center. The fully enclosed, 94,000 square-foot athletic complex can accommodate football, lacrosse and soccer as well as many other athletic activities.

Response to the capital campaign was phenomenal. A lead gift of $5 million was made by Bart ’65 and Lynn Holaday. Lynn died from complications of Lou Gehrig’s disease before the center was completed, but she and Bart shared the vision for the project.

“Lynn and I shared a dream of creating a safe and weatherproof place for our cadets to develop as leaders on the ‘fields of friendly strife,’” Holaday said during the dedication. “Thankfully, many other members of our Academy family shared this dream. It would not have been possible without their generosity, cooperation and support.”

At the time, the Holadays’ gift was the largest from a graduate to the Academy in the institution’s history. A similar gift followed from the estate of Col. Joseph and Dorothy Moller, both longtime Academy supporters. The Academy classes of ’78 and ’79 established class challenges for the project and were joined by friends and graduates from across the years to surpass the $15.5 million fundraising goal. The Holaday Athletic Center was the largest privately funded capital project in the Academy’s history.

Character and Leadership

Equally impressive during the Endowment’s early years was the campaign to raise funds for the new Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD), launched in 2010. When the Academy broke ground for the facility in late 2012, more than $16.8 million in private funds had been raised toward the $45 million complex.

The mission of the Academy to produce leaders of character resonated with a growing number of respected foundations and forward-looking corporations. Support from corporations more than tripled from just under $2 million in 2007 to over $7 million in 2012.

During that same period, foundations rallied behind the Academy, contributing more than $25.5 million to support academic and athletics programs, cadet research projects, and building campaigns like the CCLD.

Funds raised during the Endowment’s first five years increased dramatically year by year, from $5.9 million in 2007 to a cumulative total of more than $64 million by 2012. As the imposing CCLD tower began to rise above the Cadet Area, the Endowment set its sights on new fundraising milestones for its second five years. **

* This article is an excerpt from the June 2017 edition of Checkpoints magazine. The third installment of Milestones will appear in the September 2017 edition of Checkpoints magazine.


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