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Ferrum College announces $25 million 'Centennial Campaign'
Fundraising to focus on college’s academic mission
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Dr. Jennifer Braaten

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ferrum College announced Monday a $25-million Centennial Campaign in celebration of its 100th anniversary this year.

The announcement was made during a special reception at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke on the eve of the third annual Ferrum College Forum on Critical Thinking, Innovation & Leadership.

"From our founding in 1913 by visionary Methodist women, Ferrum has grown from a small school for underserved mountain children into a thriving, four-year college," said Jennifer Braaten, president of the college. "As we reflect on our past, we continue to shape our future. The Centennial Campaign will help us set the stage for the next 100 years by expanding our ability to serve our students and sustaining our mission."

The campaign's primary focus will be to increase the number of endowed scholarships and endowed professorships, as well as academic opportunities, for students.

In honor of Ferrum's 100-year relationship with the United Methodist Church, a special emphasis will be to provide for an endowed chaplaincy position to  maintain a college chaplain in perpetuity and ensure ongoing support for campus ministries' programs and leadership in pastoral ministry, as well as foster interdenominational service projects.

"The progress made during the quiet phase of our campaign, with 50 percent of our goal being met prior to the public launch today, shows tremendous support throughout the region for Ferrum College," said Kim Blair, vice president for institutional advancement.  Gifts so far have been secured through grants, donations and planned giving initiatives, she said.

"The recent renovation to Garber Hall, home to the college's School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is just one instance," Blair added. "Support from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation provided funds for a new addition that includes a 40-seat classroom and three state-of-the-art laboratories."

As an example of private generosity, Blair cited the recent donation to the college of a 172-acre botanical garden in Patrick County.

"We are grateful to Ferrum alumnus Allen DeHart for his gift of this spectacular property, which extends the college's footprint from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Smith Mountain Lake," said Blair. "The gardens will be a living laboratory for faculty and students and augment other sustainability-related programs, such as the Smith Mountain Lake Water Quality Program."

The Centennial Campaign also seeks to support experiential learning programs, such as the college's Environmental Science major, one of the oldest academic programs of its kind in the nation, as well as the creation of a campus Center for Sustainable Development.

"Ferrum College has increased its significance to higher education in the region through responsible, well-managed growth," said Board of Trustees Chairman Sam Lionberger. "In the last 10 years, we have increased student population, made impressive expansions to classroom and residential buildings, and enhanced opportunities for student engagement both in and outside the classroom."

"The Centennial Campaign will secure this and more," he added. "Ferrum College is well poised to begin its second century."

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