The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Education

January 11, 2012

Anderson University raises $113 million in five years

ANDERSON, Ind. — The recession became an unexpected obstacle in Anderson University’s goal to raise $110 million — but after extending its fundraising period, it recently surpassed the goal by $3 million.

AU officially launched its “Dreams. Discovery. Direction.” campaign in October 2006, setting its largest campaign goal to date.

It has now raised $113 million and portions of the money have been used throughout the five years to create scholarships, pay for operational expenses and fund campus construction.

The original end date for the campaign was May 31, 2010. The university had raised $96 million by then, said Robert Coffman, vice president for advancement and campaign leader.

“The board of trustees extended the deadline on the heels of the significant economic challenges that the country faced in late 2008 and 2009,” he said. “We all knew we would need a little more time to reach our goal.”

And it worked. The campaign ended on Dec. 31, 2011, with $113 million raised.

“This is a tremendous achievement for Anderson University thanks to the generosity of so many members of the Anderson University family,” said Louis Gerig, chairman of the AU board of trustees, according to an AU news release. “This goal was achieved during difficult economic times and proves that our friends will support us based on the quality of our graduates, the excellence of our programs and our mission to be servant leaders in the world.”

AU raised money through donations from foundations, organizations and more than 7,000 individual people, including university faculty and students, the news release stated.

“The significant majority of the total amount committed comes from a relatively small number of people and organizations,” Coffman said. “It used to be an 80/20 estimate, with 80 percent of the funds coming from 20 percent of donors. But we have found, and other organizations have found, that today and in recent years it is more like 90/10.”

Among those major donors were Dr. James and Dr. Elizabeth York, who contributed funding for the construction of School of Theology student housing as well as for the York Performance Hall and Galleries. The pair also donated a world-class collection of rare books, including children’s literature works.

Coffman wanted to emphasize, though, that gifts that are smaller are also very important, and play a large role in encouraging the big donors to make large pledges. When people continue to donate what they can afford to during a recession, it shows their faithfulness and confidence in the university.

More than 80 percent of the university’s employees donated a total of more than $4 million, the release said.

“That goes a long way to encourage others to give when people who are working and supporting Anderson University with their lives and work are also giving from their own financial resources,” Coffman said.

Money has been and will be used for a variety of purposes, but donors could request that their funds go to specific programs or projects. Most of the designated gifts went toward operational support, Coffman said.

Donations have been used to make improvements to the university’s athletic complex, the beautification of the Fifth Street corridor that runs through campus, and the construction of an education and conference venue at the Flagship Enterprise Center, according to the news release.

“STAR Financial Bank provided funds for the creation of a soon-to-be dedicated simulated stock trading room to enhance the preparation of students in the Falls School of Business,” the release stated. “The development of the Austin Education Technology laboratory for Education majors was underwritten by a gift from the estate of Robert Austin, who served as the university counsel for many years, and St. John’s Health Systems and Community Hospital Anderson each supported acquisition of special state-of-the-art equipment for nursing education.”

The campaign also established more than 80 new endowed scholarships for students.

Contact Melanie Hayes: 648-4250,

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