UVa-Wise fundraising

EARL NEIKIRK/FOR THE BRISTOL HERALD COURIER

Donna P. Henry (right), chancellor of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, joins UVa President Jim Ryan (second from left) and other college leaders in the traditional Jefferson toast following the school’s annual benefactors celebration and campaign kickoff Saturday.

WISE — The University of Virginia’s College at Wise launched its Honor the Future Campaign on Saturday, unveiling a goal to raise $100 million, according to a news release.

The campaign, which reached half its goal during the silent phase, follows the University of Virginia’s “Honor the Future” theme.

“This ambitious campaign is a pathway to inspiring incredible students by igniting their imagination to achieve dreams they never thought possible,” UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said in the release. “It means providing hope to families who otherwise could not afford to send their children to college where they will be surrounded by dedicated faculty, caring staff and other talented and eager students.”

Henry said UVa-Wise is innovating the liberal arts experience by elevating students, faculty, staff and the nation as a whole.

When the campaign unofficially began in 2012, the college endowment stood at $45 million, but it has grown to $105 million today, according to the release.

Lewey Lee and Rhonda Perkins, UVa-Wise alumni and members of several boards at the college, chair the campaign.

Lee said of the $50 million that has already been raised, 138 new scholarships were established with $26.1 million, including $12.4 million in matching grants from the university’s Bicentennial Scholars initiative. In addition, gifts were received from 1,728 alumni, 4,271 friends and 1,211 foundations and corporations.

Lee said UVa-Wise has reached a remarkable place in its history, but now is not the time to rest.

“We must press onward because there are so many students who are counting on us,” he said. “The investments we make now will impact the lives of today’s toddlers. While they are learning their ABCs, we are planting seeds that will produce a robust harvest that will ignite their ambitions.”

Perkins said the time is right to dream big because the college has an opportunity to change the future of its students and Southwest Virginia. The goals of the campaign are to support growth in academic programs by attracting and retaining renowned faculty, endowing funds for experiential learning, create merit, need and athletics scholarships, build a new music facility and athletic facilities, and to adequately support new initiatives and great ideas yet to be imagined, according to the release.

Perkins said the campaign is committed to raising $5 million for academic programs and professorships, $35 million for scholarships, $20 million each for athletics and capital construction projects and $15 million for the Great Ideas initiative.

UVa President Jim Ryan attended the campaign launch in Wise.

“The priorities that you’ve identified for the campaign for UVa-Wise are important for the college’s future,” Ryan said. “By focusing on professorships, need- and merit-based scholarships and experiential learning such as study abroad and undergraduate research, you are shaping the future of the student experience at UVa-Wise.”

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