The challenges facing society in the next fifty years will be significantly different from those of the last half-century. Our leaders in business, government, and the professions will need, more than ever, to be thoroughly grounded in the traditional liberal arts values. It is equally important that they acquire the skills that will enable them to compete in a dynamic global economy, to understand information technology, and to deal with population growth, environmental concerns, and changes in the international political structure.
"We should be celebrating the next 50 years, not the past 50 years," college founder Donald C. McKenna, said shortly before his death in 1997. "The future is where we're going to live the rest of our lives. The next 50 years can be tremendous."
McKenna's vision of CMC's next 50 years sees the college taking full advantage of its location on the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean, where it is poised to play a role in the development of closer ties with other Pacific Rim nations. "The Pacific Rim is the 21st century," he declares.
George C.S. Benson, the founding president, wanted to see CMC evolve with the times, and he is confident that the college will remain faithful to its original mission. "There's no chance at all we're going to change our core thrust," he said. "There are many alumni on the board of trustees, and they understand CMC and the power of being a focused liberal arts college."
The College's Administration knows that our competition is not standing still. CMC does not intend simply to maintain its position as a top-rated college: it aims to build on it for an even brighter future. Resting on its laurels will not work. A first-rate institution never stands still. It either improves or it declines.
A key element in CMC's success is the student body. The college seeks the very best students and operates what is called a "need-blind" admission policy. Since the cost of attending CMC is more than most families can afford, sufficient scholarship and loan funds are necessary.
A critical factor in the future of CMC is the quality of its faculty. With a significant proportion of the faculty approaching retirement age, it is inevitable that changes in the composition of the faculty will occur over the next ten years. The challenge is to recruit new teacher-scholars who will strengthen an already distinguished faculty, and the best way to do that is through the establishment of more endowed professorships.
CMC has consistently worked to keep tuition, room, and board charges as low as possible. Generally, CMC's costs are 5 to 20 percent lower than at peer institutions. The college has always been proud of its prudent fiscal policies and of providing the best possible education at the lowest possible price. Nevertheless, tuition at CMC has increased steadily over the years, though at a slower rate than at other colleges.
The only way that CMC can afford to hold down tuition increases while continuing to attract the best faculty and students is to control costs and to conduct an aggressive fundraising program. Over the past ten years, CMC's successes in fundraising have helped to increase endowment, raise faculty salaries, add scientific and technological resources, renovate buildings, and make millions of dollars available for financial aid to students.
For the college to advance at the same pace, the support of its alumni and friends will need to reach new levels. The college will ask a pool of donors that is, after all, relatively young and small in number, to support a fundraising effort that may be the most ambitious in the country on both per-student and per-alumnus bases. In the past, the college's friends have demonstrated a willingness respond to the challenge when they perceive the need and the opportunity. The challenge is to provide CMC with the resources it will need to push beyond its already remarkable achievements and to assure that the next 50 years are filled with unprecedented accomplishments.