by William A. Bowden
New buildings, significant new endowment funds for scholarships and academic chairs, and renovated, state-of-the-art science laboratories are among the many benefits of Transylvania’s recently completed 225th Anniversary Campaign that members of the university community are already enjoying.
The five-and-a-half-year campaign, launched in the fall of 2004, ended successfully on June 30, 2010, with a total of $47.3 million, which surpassed the original goal of $32 million as well as the revised goal of $42 million.
“Once again, Transylvania’s many supporters came through in grand fashion,” said William T. Young Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees. “It is especially gratifying that our donors pushed us far beyond our campaign goal in a time of financial uncertainty. When the economy began to falter in the fall of 2008, Transylvania’s donors really stepped up. They continued their strong support of the 225th Anniversary Campaign right up to the very end.”
Mark Blankenship ’81, acting vice president for development, noted that the components of the campaign encompassed all the significant areas of the university, from academics to residence life, student life, and athletics.
“Virtually all members of the Transylvania community are realizing the positive effects of the generosity displayed by everyone who supported the campaign,” he said. “The living and learning environment of the university is measurably better than it was before the campaign began.”
New buildings appear
Two new buildings made possible by the campaign have greatly enhanced student life and residence life. A spacious bookstore, complete with a café and lower level expansion space for the library, and a residence hall with all-suite accommodations were both made possible by generous lead gifts and the support of many others.
The $2 million Glenn Building, a 10,000-square-foot, two-level structure, features an attractive bookstore and Jazzman’s Café. It was dedicated in the fall of 2005 and was made possible by a $1.4 million lead gift from the late trustee James F. Glenn. It allowed relocation of the bookstore from its former out-of-the-way location in the lower level of the Mitchell Fine Arts Center to its present high-visibility position on Old Morrison circle. Jazzman’s Café has become a very popular spot on campus for socializing among students, faculty, and staff members.
The $5.5 million, 28,000-square-foot Thomson Residence Hall, opened in the fall of 2008, houses 61 upper-class students in 31 suite-style accommodations. Funding was sparked by a substantial lead gift from trustee Joe Thomson ’66 and his wife, JoAnn. The building includes the expanded 1780 Café on the ground floor, two spacious lounges, and an 80-person-capacity meeting room on the lower level.
Thomson Residence Hall opened in 2008 and offers suite-style accommodations for 61 upper-class students, the 1780 Café, and an 80-person meeting room.
Both buildings illustrate Transylvania’s emphasis on sustainability. The Glenn Building uses an efficient and environmentally friendly geothermal heating and air conditioning system that the U.S. Department of Energy has designated clean and sustainable technology. Thomson Hall earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR rating, the first such recognition for a residence hall in Kentucky.
The largest capital project in the campaign is the $9.2 million renovation of laboratory space in the Brown Science Center, opened in 1970. This comprehensive renovation and refurbishing initiative has transformed nine of the 11 lab spaces into bright, attractive, state-of-the-art facilities that are having a dramatically positive effect on the students and faculty members using them.
New fume hoods, and an increase in their numbers, have made chemistry labs much more efficient. The elimination of high dividers on lab tables and the addition of moveable furnishings have made the labs more flexible, allowing professors to combine lecture and experiments in one session and students to work in a more collaborative way.
The project also included a new heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system that greatly improves the fresh air atmosphere throughout the building. Two new large fan units on the roof recycle the captured energy in the heated or cooled air, creating a much more sustainable energy system. New windows throughout the center add to the building’s energy efficiency.
Projects enhance campus
Other construction and renovation projects include Haupt Plaza, the Career Development Center, and tennis courts.
Haupt Plaza, the crossroads of the campus, was extensively renovated and rebuilt to include more seating, historically themed lampposts, new trees and shrubbery, and an environmentally friendly drainage system.
The Career Development Center was relocated from its former position in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center to a more accessible and larger facility in Mitchell. Highlights include a more sequestered conference area and improved computer work stations for students to use while preparing résumés and researching companies, organizations, and graduate programs.
The tennis complex was completely redone, with three new courts being constructed behind Poole Residence Center and three more new ones replacing the old ones adjacent to Davis Residence Hall. Three other courts were demolished to make way for Thomson Hall.
A new three-court complex was part of the tennis facilities upgrade made possible by the 225th Anniversary Campaign.
Endowment surpasses goal
One of the real success stories of the 225th Anniversary Campaign is the outpouring of support for the endowment. Donors almost doubled the goal of $9 million by contributing nearly $17.3 million to provide endowments for scholarships and academic chairs.
“If you look at the dollars given in various areas of the campaign, the amount for scholarships and endowed chairs really stands out,” Blankenship said. “It tells you how grateful our graduates are for the support they received when they were Transy students. It’s a good harbinger for the future, because we know that continuing to build our endowment is going to be a critical goal of any future fund-raising efforts.”
Funding for three $1 million academic chairs is now in place. The first to be occupied is the Lucille C. Little Endowed Chair in Theater, funded by a $500,000 challenge grant from the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation and $500,000 raised through the campaign. Drama professor Tim Soulis became the first Transylvania professor to occupy an academic chair when he received the honor in 2007.
Funds for two additional chairs will be derived from the $2.9 million bequest of Margaret J. Lewis ’37, the second largest estate gift in the history of the university. Lewis was an English major at Transy who harbored a lifelong desire to endow a professorship or named scholarship at her alma mater.
As is the case with many capital campaigns, donor support may exceed the goal in certain areas while falling short in others. Although Transylvania’s 225th Anniversary Campaign has officially ended, fund-raising efforts continue for two components of the initiative—lab renovations in Brown Science and new residence hall space.
It will take just over $1.5 million to complete renovation of the two remaining lab spaces, a microbiology lab and an analytical/inorganic chemistry lab.
Junior Aaron Carrithers shows Board of Trustees Chairman William T. Young Jr., left, and his son, trustee Chris Young, a demonstration using a new fume hood in Brown Science Center, installed as part of a $9.2 million renovation project.
The remaining need for residence hall development is approximately $5.5 million to fund innovative new living environments different from the large, traditional dormitories with common bath areas. Smaller units, such as Thomson Hall, that provide more privacy and can be adapted to a particular theme are the current trend in student housing.
In spite of those ongoing needs, the overall campaign was the most successful in Transylvania’s history and has markedly improved the living and learning environment for the entire university community.
“I want to thank each and every one who made our campaign such a resounding success,” Young said. “I am especially grateful to (President Emeritus) Charles Shearer for his tireless leadership without which we could not have reached the record 225th Anniversary Campaign results that we have seen. As chairman, it is so gratifying to know that when Transylvania makes its case for what it needs to ensure the quality of its future, the support is always there.”