An exceptional year of fundraising success


Lenoir-Rhyne University celebrates another year of exceptional fundraising success for the fiscal year that ended May 31, 2024. Thanks to the unwavering generosity of alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff, the university secured a remarkable $13.3 million in total contributions.

Two female students hold a poster with thank a donor written on it

This impressive figure reflects a strong commitment to LR’s mission and vision. It encompasses $11.9 million in cash, new pledges, and new planned gifts for LR and $1.4 million for the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Notably, $1.4 million was specifically designated to support student scholarships, ensuring continued access to a high-quality Lenoir-Rhyne education. Additionally, the annual fund, which provides unrestricted support for the university’s greatest needs, received $451,033.

“We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of our generous donors,” shared Fred Whitt, Ed.D., university president. “Their contributions directly impact the lives of our students, faculty, and staff, enabling us to deliver an exceptional educational experience and invest in the future of LR.”

LR’s success this year can be attributed to several factors, including a strong annual giving campaign, the ever-popular Bears Give Back giving day, and a dedicated team of development professionals. The annual giving campaign focuses on fostering meaningful connections with donors, highlighting the university’s achievements and the impact of their contributions. Bears Give Back, a 24-hour fundraising event, continues to shatter records, raising vital funds in a short period.

Other highlights of the year include:

  • 10 percent increase in the number of Loyal Bears, donors making gifts for at least three consecutive fiscal years
  • 11 percent increase in donors making sustaining, or monthly, gifts
  • Creation of two new endowed scholarships and two new current-use scholarships
  • 89 first-time donors on Bears Give Back
  • More than $720,000 raised in grants from private foundations. 

Looking ahead, the university remains committed to building upon this momentum. Fundraising efforts will continue to prioritize student scholarships, innovative academic programs, and essential campus improvements. The university’s focus on building strong relationships with its donor base will be paramount to ensuring continued success.

Additionally, Cat Serrin Niekro, vice president for advancement, expressed her deep appreciation for the Lenoir-Rhyne community’s generosity. “We are truly humbled by the outpouring of support this year. The LR family has a remarkable capacity for giving, and their contributions make a real difference in the lives of our students. Thanks to their generosity, we can continue to provide a world-class education and prepare our students to be successful leaders in their chosen fields.”

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