1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

A resounding success: Transylvania’s 225th Anniversary Campaign surpasses goal

LEXINGTON, Ky.—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.

Thomson Residence Hall, one of two buildings that have been built since the start of the 225th Anniversary Campaign began.

The five-and-a-half-year campaign, launched in the fall of 2004, ended successfully 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 cafe 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 Cafe. 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. Jazzman’s Cafe 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 Cafe on the ground floor, two spacious lounges and an 80-person capacity meeting room on the lower level.

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. 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 making use of 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 added 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 a rain garden, an environmentally friendly drainage system.

The Career Development Center was relocated from its lower level 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 resumes and researching companies, organizations and graduate programs.

The tennis complex was completely redone and the university now has six new courts. 

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 life-long desire to endow a professorship or named scholarship at her alma mater.

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 couldn’t 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.”