ANNAPOLIS, Md. — During Adm. Charles Larson's second tour as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, an alumnus suggested in 1995 that he create a foundation to raise "walking-around money" for the academy.
Larson set up what would become the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, moving the military academy into private fundraising like other institutions of higher learning, and in 1996 that same alumnus gave him a $300,000 check to get the ball rolling.
Since then, the retired admiral said at a recent academy Board of Visitors meeting, enough money has been raised from private donors — both alumni and corporations — to fund faculty chairs, distinguished military professorships, admission outreach programs and academic and writing centers for the brigade of about 4,300 midshipmen.
The donations also have helped pay for renovations at the football stadium and a sailing center, and to help build a Jewish worship center.
The foundation received about $253-million in commitments during a fundraising campaign from July 1999 to December 2005.
"We augment federal funds, but we don't let the government off the hook," Larson said.
Now, he said it's time to lay the groundwork for another campaign to keep the money flowing.