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Furman University plans to raise $426M — here’s how

Ross Norton //April 17, 2023//

Furman University plans to raise $426M — here’s how

Ross Norton //April 17, 2023//

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Furman President announced the fundraising goal at an April 15 party capped off by a fireworks show. (Photo/Provided)Furman University plans to raise $426 million to kick off its third century as an institution, which begins in 2026.

The university announced its largest campaign ever at an April 15 Purple Party with more than 750 faculty, staff, alumni and other supporters at Roberts Rugby Pitch on the Greenville campus.

University President Elizabeth Davis announced “Clearly Furman, the Campaign for our Third Century” at the party following three days of activities showcasing scholarship, innovation, engaged learning and other academic endeavors by students, faculty and staff, according to a news release.

“This is Furman’s moment. This is our moment,” Davis said in the news release. “Our moment to come together, to propel our university into its third century with a clear vision and the resources to meet our enormous potential.”

Davis said everyone attaining the goal will require all hands on deck from the Furman family.

“We will, through our faculty, staff and graduates — and with your support — influence action and ideas across the 21st century,” she said in the release. “We must be bold. We must be ambitious. Now is our time. Please join us.”

Alumni Robert Hill and Margaret Hill are co-chairs of the campaign.

A “quiet” phase has already raised more than $309 million, thanks in part to a $10 million commitment by alumnus David Trone and his wife June for student mental health and to create the Hillel Endowment Fund, and a $10 million commitment by alumnus Ravenel Curry III for renovations to Timmons Arena, the cornerstone of a $40 million project that is 83% funded. Furman has also received more than $52.5 million from The Duke Endowment to fund The Furman Advantage, according to the news release.

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Campaigns aren’t just about raising large sums of money, said Heidi Hansen McCrory, vice president for development.

“The Clearly Furman campaign provides a moment for Furman to focus on our future, and to seek the philanthropy that makes that future come to life,” McCrory said in the release. “It’s an opportunity to engage everyone in the life of the university, and a real opportunity to express our pride in some public ways.” 

It’s not just Furman’s future that the campaign aims to change, McCrory said.

“What really matters is making the world a better place through Furman and the philanthropic support of this campaign,” he said in the release. “How do we change the world through our students, faculty, staff, alumni and through what we do on this campus?”

The university has identified six major initiatives for the campaign:

Scholarships, Teaching and Academic Programs: $130 million. Scholarships, professorships, department initiatives. “We know the world needs the skills of Furman graduates more than ever,” McCrory said in the release. “We want to ensure that every student who wants to be at Furman has that opportunity, and scholarships make that possible.”

The Furman Advantage: $126 million. The Duke Endowment has helped fund Furman’s unique approach to student success, including Pathways, student research, study away and internships. These funds would permanently endow The Furman Advantage.

Wellness, Belonging and Community: $30 million. This helps fund The Center for Inclusive Communities and programs for students that focus on wellness, belonging, community, and mental and physical fitness and health.

Athletics, Coaching and Competitiveness: $50 million. Most of these funds will finance the renovation of Timmons Arena, but also provide scholarships and funds for recruiting, coaches’ salaries and other needs that help the Paladins compete on and off the field.

The Institutes: $40 million. Furman has four institutes that conduct research and give students unique opportunities to engage with the community and with the private sector. They are The Shi Institute for Sustainable CommunitiesThe Hill Institute for Innovation and EntrepreneurshipThe Institute for the Advancement of Community Health and The Riley Institute.

The Annual Fund: $50 million. This fund allows the university to respond to the most pressing needs of the institution and ensures all students receive the high-impact learning experiences that will prepare them for meaningful lives and careers.

The next big fund-raising event will be Dins Day, on Tuesday, April 25. The 24-hour annual event, held on the last day of class for students, encourages Furman friends around the world to support the university. Events will be held in many cities across the country.