By Bria Isaacson, News Editor
Over the summer, Asbury University publicly announced a $63 million dollar fundraising campaign called the Ignited Campaign. These funds will be used in three different ways: facilities, scholarships and experience.
The most expensive of these is the facilities focus. Gary Wortz, a member of the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) committee and a 2000 Asbury graduate, is excited about the facilities, saying on the Ignited Campaign website that “Asbury has already assembled the critical elements (small classes, excellent faculty, outstanding students) of an outstanding program. One thing it’s lacking is the great facilities.”
This facilities focus will fill that gap. Asbury is currently raising money to build the CLC announced in 2014, which will house the business, science and math departments; add to the Student Center (Stuce), which will open up the bottom floor and double the square footage; and build a guest house, called the Windsor Manor.
The CLC and Stuce are not yet fully funded, having raised about $9.7 million out of $17 million needed and about $2.4 out of $5 million needed, respectively.
The guest house, on the other hand, has had its $2 million goal fully funded by an anonymous donor who requested that it be called Windsor Manor.
Many people, including Asbury President Sandra Gray, are excited for another way to show Christian hospitality.
“Biblical hospitality is one of the truest ways to tangibly demonstrate our love for others,” she said on the campaign website.
The second component of the campaign is scholarships. This component is divided into current-use scholarships given directly to students and endowed scholarships, which are never spent, but are invested with a portion of the income awarded annually to students for generations.
Asbury has a goal of $17 million in current-use scholarships to students, and the current progress is about $9.6 million. For endowed scholarships, Asbury’s goal is $10 million, and the current progress is about $5.4 million.
The third component of the Ignited Campaign is experience. This includes recruiting and equipping faculty, funding academic and community life and institutional sustainability.
The faculty portion of this will fund not only named, endowed positions, which will help to retain veteran professors, but will also fund professional development. Out of a goal of $1 million, Asbury is currently a little less than $30 thousand short.
The academic and community life aspect of this includes equipment and technology upgrades, interdisciplinary seminars, guest lecturers, research, internships, study abroad programs, travel stipends and grants for students. Asbury has raised about $4.7 million out of eight million needed.
The final aspect of the experience component is institutional sustainability. is includes expansion of the Equine Program by adding staff, facilities, equipment, horses and a graduate program. Asbury hopes to double the current capacity of the Equine Program to 200 students.
In addition, athletic funding falls into this category; Asbury plans on expanding and upgrading the Kirkland Baseball and Softball Complex. Asbury has raised about $2.6 million out of a needed two million.
All of these components comprise a bold fundraising campaign. Although this is the biggest fundraising campaign in Asbury history, Gray and the campaign’s board emphasize that Asbury has always been willing to trust God and make decisions based on his prompting.
On the Ignited Campaign website, Gray talks about the building of Hughes Auditorium. This was built to seat 1,500 people, despite the fact that there were only 600 students attending Asbury then.
“So that’s a pretty broad risk of vision to be willing and to recognize the need,” Gray said on the campaign website. “So Asbury has always been visionary, we’ve always been willing to step out in faith when we understand that it’s God who’s calling. We’ve never been reckless, but we’ve been willing to step out in faith and accept the vision that he puts before us.”