The Ones Creating Access to Opportunity

University for all

The time is ripe for a more robust model of higher education that fully embraces opportunity as a fundamental right. Drake will enhance programs and partnerships that connect every generation within our campus and sphere of influence. We will empower individuals of all ages and from all backgrounds to enhance their lives and the lives of others through education.

Investment areas include:

The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center—One of the nation’s leading institutes for providing character education. The Ray Center’s programming reaches youth from early childhood through college-age, including the CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative that serves eight million youth worldwide.

Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club—Funding will support scholarships and programming to further strengthen the University’s relationship with the club and make Drake more accessible to its members.

Crew Scholars—Crew is one of Drake’s most successful programs designed to recruit, retain and support students of color.

John Dee Bright College—A two-year program that is unique tailored to meet the needs of a diverse cohort of students. Bright College’s innovative and distinctive curriculum provides hands-on high-impact learning experiences and serves as an accelerator for career development.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Drake—Formerly the RaySociety, OLLI is a program designed for people ages 50 and older who seek opportunities for lifelong learning to enrich their lives in a collegial environment of sharing and fellowship.

Bringing Children’s Laughter to Campus

Suzie Glazer Burt had a vision for a Boys & Girls Club at Drake University. Today, members of her and her late husband's namesake club are running, playing, and learning on campus and imagining themselves as future Drake Bulldogs.

The ones who persist

with courage, grit, and determination

John Dee Bright came to Drake as a sensational football player, one of the very few African Americans playing at the college level in the early 1950s. In 1951 he was a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

John Dee Bright in early 1950s holding a football in a black and white photo

But during a game at Oklahoma A&M College, an opposing player hit Bright—who did not have the ball—in the face, breaking Bright’s jaw. Despite the attack, John refused to give up on football—or his education.

John Dee Bright about to be tackled and break his jaw in an early 1950s football game

After graduation, Bright became one of the Canadian Football League’s most honored players. He also used his bachelor’s degree in education from Drake to share the power of education as a well-respected teacher, coach, and school administrator in Edmonton Public Schools.

John Dee Bright sitting at a table as a teacher, coach, and school administrator in Edmonton Public School

Naming Bright College in John’s honor pays tribute to his personal and professional qualities of grit, resilience, dedication, drive, and civic and professional engagement—

the very qualities Bright College instills in its learners.

John Dee Bright College at Drake University

Today Bright College is a thriving two-year degree program that is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of diverse cohorts of students. Its innovative curriculum provides high-impact learning experiences and serves as an accelerator for career development.

Inside a classroom at Drake’s Bright College
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Build Character as a Way to Improve Schools

When your mission is to improve civility and develop ethical leaders around the world, the place to start is in schools. 

CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!) provides practical, character-based education strategies, curriculum, and training to positively impact our school systems and communities. The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University is the global home for CC!, reaching approximately 8 million students around the world each year. CC! Produces exceptional results in the academic, social, emotional, and character-development domains.

The Downey, California, school system illustrates the power of CHARACTER COUNTS! In the 2005—2006 school year, Downey students served a total of more than 6,000 suspensions. A decade after the implementation of CC!, suspension days were down more than 75% to 1,600 days in the 2014–2015 school year.

“Each year, students are getting better,” said Tom Houts, principal of Downey schools. “Each year discipline is getting better. Expulsions are almost to zero now. Suspensions are way, way down. It’s not the same school as 12 years ago. The kids are not the same.”

Supporting The Ray Center allows programs like CC! to continue to replicate the results from Downey across the country and help create strong, vibrant communities that value positive, healthy relationships and respectful behavior.

Feel the Momentum of The Ones

Share the excitement of Drake’s progress toward its audacious goal.

See our progress

Join the ones
who share the vision.

By elevating Drake together, we will secure a more vibrant future for those who follow our footsteps. Join the ones who will transform Drake’s vision into a reality by adding your support to the campaign for the brave & bold.

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