Jun 16, 2022
David Pepin

Assumption Celebrates Conclusion of Record-Setting, $50 Million Campaign

Assumption University celebrated the conclusion of the wildly successful Light the Way capital campaign on Friday, June 10 with a gala honoring those who have spent the last several years supporting the University’s record-setting campaign. After seven years, two of which were plagued by a pandemic, the University raised an historic $50.6 million, 45 percent over its original goal.

“The Board and I are tremendously grateful to each and every one of you,” said Fran Bedard ’81, chair of the Board of Trustees, addressing the audience of benefactors, including several faculty members, administrators, staff, alumni and their families, student mentors, advisory board members, Trustees, and other University ambassadors. “Your generosity of time, talent, and treasure significantly enhances the strength and quality of Assumption and our ability to serve students. The milestone we celebrate tonight is significant in our nearly 120-year history.  This successful campaign has a transformational impact on the University and provides great momentum as we continue to enhance our university status.”

“The sun is rising on a day bright with possibility at Assumption—one where we embrace our Catholic identity in educational terms and welcome all, no matter who they may be, who seek to pursue the truth in the company of friends,” said Interim President Greg Weiner, Ph.D. “I stand here with confidence and gratitude—confidence in the Assumption we can build together and gratitude for all you’re doing to make it possible.”

The Light the Way campaign began with a silent phase in 2015 before being publicly announced in 2017. The campaign had an original goal of $35 million and four fundraising priorities: building a new academic center, athletic facility improvements, as well as increasing resources for the endowment and The Assumption Fund. Because of the tremendous success of The Light the way campaign in raising nearly $16 million more than planned, Assumption was able to broaden its growth, both physical and financial.

The University added physical structures to its campus with the additions of the Tsotsis Family Academic Center, which has become the hub of academic life on campus, and the Richard J. and Sophia Catrambone Health Sciences Center, a response to the increased global need for healthcare professionals. This spring, the University broke ground on its latest project of upgrading the softball field to a multi-sport artificial turf facility, thanks to a matching grant provided by Brian Kelly ’83 HD ‘12. The University also launched innovative partnerships, such as one with the Worcester Red Sox, that provide students exciting opportunities for internships and community engagement.

The addition of these important edifices and partnerships allowed the University to expand and organize into five schools—the Froelich School of Nursing, Grenon School of Business, D’Amour College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Health Professions, and School of Graduate Studies—leading the way for the approval of Assumption’s transition from a college to a university in June 2020. 

The campaign also provided key financial assistance to Assumption students. More than 44 scholarships and endowed funds were established to support students and faculty initiatives and the University was able to raise more than $500,000 for the Coronavirus Financial Aid Relief Fund to help students and their families impacted by the pandemic. 

Bedard shared that while many individuals were essential to the success of this campaign, the leadership of President Emeritus Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., was the key to the campaign’s success. Bedard lauded President Emeritus Cesareo for traversing the country and “meeting with alumni and friends of Assumption to share a compelling story of the value of an Assumption education – and why they should make a selfless sacrifice to support the institution.”

In honor of his dedication to Assumption and his countless contributions to the institution during his 15 years of service, Bedard announced that the University would honor him by the renaming of South Hall to Cesareo Hall.

“This campaign has been transformative for Assumption with the changed landscape of the campus that resulted from the construction of the Tsotsis Family Academic Center, the Richard J. and Sophia Catrambone Health Sciences Center, and the piazza as the focal point for the shift of the campus to the actual center,” said President Emeritus Cesareo.  “Each of these projects were more than bricks and mortar, but reflected a particular vision that I had which spoke to the education we offer to our students and the purpose of Catholic liberal education and our mission as a Catholic institution, which each of these donors understood and for which we are all grateful.  The true essence of this campaign and its priorities was the students – this was a student-centric campaign which was only fitting since my presidency was always student-focused. This evening is an opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to our supporters for investing in Assumption and laying a strong foundation for its future.”

On hand to celebrate the success were campaign co-chairs Michael Sullivan ‘83 and Carolyn Clancy ‘82. Honorary Campaign Chair Brian Kelly ’83 provided a recorded message from his new home in Louisiana.

“I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to all who contributed to our campaign and helped us significantly exceed our goals,” shared Clancy.  “This will allow us to continue to provide an exceptional education to so many for years to come.  Assumption University continues to evolve, expand, transform, and innovate greatly thanks to your generosity and commitment.”

Sullivan echoed his co-chair’s sentiments. “The overwhelming support of the Assumption community and alumni made this campaign a success,” he said. “The $50 million in capital contributions will position the university well to serve its current and future students’ needs as they prepare to make a meaningful difference in the world.  We are grateful to all who made it happen.”


Assumption University, founded in 1904 by the Augustinians of the Assumption, is New England’s premier university for high-quality education, integrating career preparation and education of the whole person, drawing upon the best in the rich and centuries-long tradition of Catholic higher education. Assumption, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, seeks to provide students with a transformative education that forms graduates who possess critical intelligence, thoughtful citizenship, and compassionate service. The University offers 34 majors and 49 minors in the liberal arts, sciences, business, nursing and professional studies; as well as master’s and continuing education degrees and professional certificate programs. For more information about Assumption University, please visit www.assumption.edu.