With thanks to the extraordinary generosity of alumni, parents, and friends, Lenoir-Rhyne University raised more than $9.6 million in cash in hand for the 2018-19 fiscal year that ended May 31, and more than $14.5 million in total commitments in fiscal year 2019. This represents an increase of $1.5 million in fundraising for cash in hand and an increase of more than $5 million in total commitments to the University compared with the previous year. The funds raised will support key initiatives across campus, including scholarships, faculty support, and campus infrastructure.
"These incredible numbers show that people believe in Lenoir-Rhyne University's power to effect change," said President Fred Whitt. "Our donors understand that we are creating opportunities, changing lives, and moving LR forward. 2019's fundraising success speaks directly to the loyalty and generosity of our alumni and donors, and we're very grateful."
It was a year of setting records, surpassing goals, and celebrating firsts, including:
- More than 12 percent of alumni made a gift to LR. This statistic is commonly used in college rankings and grant applications.
- More than 550 people made gifts for the second annual Bears Have Heart Giving Day, raising more than $120,000 during the 24-hour giving challenge.
- Raised $3.1 million in total commitments for the Duane and Madeleine Dassow University Commons.
- Raised $3.2 million in total commitments for the Neill McGeachy Sports Performance Center.
- Raised $645,000 in total commitments for 50th class reunion gift from the Class of 1969, a new record for reunion giving for the University.
- In repeat fashion, the 1950s decade won the second annual Battle of the Bears championship with the highest alumni participation rate among all alumni decades at LR.
- Received a commitment of $1 million from Madeleine '75 and Duane '75 Dassow to fund the Madeleine and Duane Dassow University Commons.
- Received a $500,000 life insurance gift from the estate of Neill R. McGeachy '65 to fund the Neill McGeachy Sports Performance Center.
- Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary received a bequest of more than $1.1 million from the estate of Frances Weant to fund the Baxter and Frances Weant Chair in Lutheran Studies Endowment.
- Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary received a $45,000 scholarship gift honoring The Reverend David W. Coffman by Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Columbia, South Carolina.
- Raised approximately $260,000 for the New Life Fund at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
- Raised more than $465,000 for the Good Shepherd Fund at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
- Raised more than $700,000 in unrestricted annual operating support for the Fund for Lenoir-Rhyne.
- Raised more than $120,000 in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Visiting Writers Series.
- Raised more than $85,000 for the A Cappella Choir student travel abroad to Ireland.
President Whitt and Cat Serrin Niekro, vice president of institutional advancement, said the goal now is to build on the momentum established with this year's achievements.
"LR donors are fiercely loyal to the University, and we are incredibly appreciative of their generous spirit," Niekro said. "Their desire to see LR excel and continue to offer transformative opportunities is inspiring. We know there is more work to be done, and I'm confident we will continue to realize even more success."