Despite a challenging year resulting from the global pandemic, Lenoir-Rhyne's dedicated donors demonstrated a remarkable level of support for the university. As the advancement team closed the books on fiscal year 2021, which ended May 31, it saw impressive results for giving to LR.
Alumni, parents and friends gave more than $6.4 million in cash in hand to the university and more than $7.4 million in total commitments (cash and pledges). In addition, almost $700,000 was raised for the Fund for Lenoir-Rhyne, a 28 percent increase over the previous year, and more than 10 percent of alumni made gifts.
"We know that COVID-19 brought uncertainty to many in our community," said Dr. Fred Whitt, university president. "The incredible support from our alumni and friends was a bright spot this year and enables us to continue to offer the transformative LR experience that our students expect."
Funds raised will support key initiatives on campus such as scholarships, faculty support, athletics and campus infrastructure. Highlights of fiscal year 2021 giving include:
- Raised more than $1.2 million for scholarship support.
- Nineteen families have given 37 (or more) consecutive years.
- LR student-athletes raised the sixth-highest amount of money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in NCAA Division II and earned an opportunity to host a wish reveal. The Bears raised $6,723.
- Bears Have Heart Giving Day celebrated its most successful day yet with 649 people gifting more than $380,000 during the 24-hour challenge.
- More than $2.6 million was raised in support for LTSS, including $342,000 for The New Life Fund.
- LR saw a 7 percent increase in first-time donors.
- The university's President's Society increased to nearly 600 loyal supporters.
"The past year was incredibly difficult for so many of our alumni and friends and yet they still found a way to support Lenoir-Rhyne," said Cat Serrin Niekro, vice president for institutional advancement. "I am grateful for the unwavering support our donors show for LR. This is a truly special community, and I want to thank everyone who made a gift to LR this year."
Despite the difficulty, growth and development were visible everywhere on campus.
LR was ranked as one of the top universities in North Carolina and the south in terms of best valued regional universities and social mobility, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Graduate School welcomed a record number of students. LR's elementary teacher preparation program was named one of the best in the country, and the baseball program became the only Division II program in the state to have a fully turfed field after installation of AstroTurf was completed in the spring. The Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute was also launched offering training platforms to created equity in the workplace throughout the southeast.
All of that could not have been done without the support of faculty, staff, alumni and all Bears everywhere.
"This is just a testament to the magnanimous spirit of Lenoir-Rhyne alumni and our Bears family," Whitt said. "Their generosity helps provide our students with a transformative experience.