Student Success at Heart of $8 Million Gift from Sally and Sandy Cutler

Charles Carlson, director of media relations at Albion College, wrote the following press release provided to The Pleiad on Oct. 22 after the school received the largest gift in its history. The gift, provided by Sandy and Sally Cutler, is expected to help the college fulfill its mission statement:

“Albion College is an undergraduate, liberal arts institution committed to academic excellence. We are learning-centered and recognize that valuable learning takes place in and outside the classroom, on and off campus. We prepare students to translate critical thought into action.”

Sandy and Sally Cutler recently provided Albion College with an $8 million gift, the largest gift in the school’s history (Photo courtesy of Chuck Carlson).

The following is an announcement from Carlson:

October 22, 2019

The largest gift in the history of Albion College has a goal equally as large—providing students of greatest need with every opportunity possible to successfully navigate, and thrive, in the demanding and turbulent waters that are the college experience.

Impressed by Albion’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, Sarah Cutler (known to most as Sally), ’75, and her husband, Alexander (better known as Sandy), have given a landmark $8
million gift to create the Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler Center for Student Success and Academic Achievement to help smooth the path toward graduation for underrepresented, first generation and other students in need.

“Albion College is a very special school and we want to help ensure that more young men and women have the opportunity to successfully navigate through their years at Albion toward a timely graduation,” Sally Cutler said. “Many young students, without any fault of their own, do not have college readiness skills and simply require additional help to move forward. We want to be part of the solution.”

The Cutler Center will commit to helping students in all stages of their college life, both large
and small. A particular focus will be on individual mentoring that begins immediately after
admission to Albion, before the student formally enrolls. The concentrated mentoring and
advising, beyond academics, continues throughout and following the student’s first year, as they choose a major, explore experiential learning opportunities and prepare for their next steps after Albion.

“Successful matriculation is crucial in today’s competitive environment,” Cutler said. “With so
many competing forces for the attention and priorities of young people today, we find the
concept of programs that provide the necessary support to ensure a successful college
experience critically important.”

The Center, which will also provide faculty curriculum support, is scheduled to be in operation by the start of the 2020-21 academic year and will be administered by a full-time director.

“This gift allows us to take all the factors that are standing in the way of making students
successful and smoothing the road for them,” said Pamela Schwartz, director of the College’s
Learning Support Center. “It is a very unusual gift and this is a very unusual school in its
commitment to diversity. And this is something these students need.”

The Cutlers’ gift follows the last four years of Albion’s commitment to making the College, in the words of President Mauri Ditzler, “look more like America.” In the 2015 fall semester, 15 percent of Albion’s students were from underrepresented groups. This fall, that number is nearly 40 percent.

And Albion’s focus on diversity and inclusion has been recognized nationally.

In the latest U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges ranking, Albion tied for 63rd among
national liberal arts colleges in the Top Performers on Social Mobility category and was also
cited for its First-Year Experience program. Meanwhile, Washington Monthly magazine, in its
annual college rankings, lauded Albion for its contribution to the public good across three
categories—social mobility, research and promoting public service.

“Our students come from diverse backgrounds and have a variety of needs,” said Leroy Wright, Albion’s vice president for student development and dean of students. “With the support of the Cutler gift, this will assist Albion College in continuing to provide a network of strong support that aids in removing barriers and increasing access for students to succeed academically and socially.”

Wright emphasized that the gift, and the Center, will aid students throughout their total college experience at Albion. Of primary importance: finishing in four years. “This generation of students needs us more than ever to help rise above the challenges that may prevent them from persisting to graduation,” he said.

Added President Ditzler: “This generous and timely gift goes to the heart of what a liberal arts
education can and must be. It provides real opportunities for many students to continue their
education, to complete their degree and to begin their next chapter as prepared and motivated graduates.”

For Sally Cutler, whose Albion degree is in English, this moment offers another way for her to
recall and appreciate her undergraduate experience.

“The concept of this Center is so very much an expression of what Albion is, and always has
been, all about,” she said. “Albion cares for its students, teaches responsibility toward others and provides a safe and caring environment for everyone it serves. Every graduate of Albion College has a chance to make a positive difference in our world. They will have the ability to enhance their families as well as their communities at large.”

And Sandy Cutler believes the effort can go even further.

“We would love to see the Center for Student Success and Academic Achievement serve as a
template for other institutions,” he said. “Positive change can happen in our country, and it is
our sincere hope that this Center can act as a catalyst for those kind of changes. It is our
privilege to be able to fund this effort.”

Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler Center for Student Success and Academic Achievement

Comments from Sarah (Sally) Cutler, Albion College Class of 1975:

“Albion College is a very special school and we want to help ensure that more young
men and women have the opportunity to successfully navigate through their years at
Albion toward a timely graduation. Many young students, without any fault of their own,
do not have college readiness skills and simply require additional help to move forward.
We want to be part of the solution.”

“Successful matriculation is crucial in today’s competitive environment. With so many
competing forces for the attention and priorities of young people today, we find the
concept of programs that provide the necessary support to ensure a successful college
experience critically important.”

“Every graduate of Albion College has a chance to make a positive difference in our
world. They will have the ability to enhance their families as well as their communities at
large. First-generation college graduates can begin to create a tradition of graduating
from college for their own children and grandchildren.”

“The concept of this Center is so very much an expression of what Albion is, and always
has been, all about. Albion cares for its students, teaches responsibility toward others
and provides a safe and caring environment for everyone it serves.”

Comments from Alexander (Sandy) Cutler:

“We would love to see the Center for Student Success and Academic Achievement
serve as a template for other institutions, and we hope it does. Positive change can
happen in our country and it is our sincere hope that this Center can act as a catalyst for
those kind of changes.”

“It is our privilege to be able to fund this effort. Both of us have always been mindful of
wanting to make this world a better place for having been here, and we think that
helping Albion with this effort fits that desire perfectly.”

# # #

About Jordan Revenaugh 66 Articles
Jordan Revenaugh is a senior from Rochester, Michigan. An aspiring journalist and author, she is a double major in psychology and English with a creative writing concentration. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of the Pleiad, Jordan runs cross country and track, is a part of Delta Gamma and InterVarsity, and is a dedicated avocado enthusiast.

1 Comment

  1. The college announcement makes reference to a center that will be in operation at the start of the 2020-21 academic year. Where will that center be located?

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