WC announces $45 million fundraising campaign


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Wilmington College launched the public phase of a record $45 million fundraising campaign this spring that focuses on investing in people, the living/learning environment and a sustainable future.

WC President Trevor M. Bates announced the “Together We Rise” initiative with some 89 percent — $40,009,906 — already secured or pledged. He shared elements of the college’s case for support.

“Students are transformed at Wilmington College. They are changed because they’ve been invested in through so many ways,” Bates said, noting that each of the three campaign pillars focuses on giving students the most meaningful educational experience possible.

“When you invest in Wilmington College, you’re elevating our mission to educate, inspire and prepare each student for a life of service and success,” the president added. “Your gift will improve the hands-on learning experiences of our students — and make a far-reaching, long-lasting and uplifting impact on our College.”

He cited the initiative’s goals with regard to three overarching pillars: Investing in People, $9 million; Investing in the Living and Learning Environment, $12 million; and Investing in a Sustainable Future, $24 million.

Jayme Mabry, class of 2019, shared how WC’s caring faculty and staff were integral to her success. She graduated this spring from Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law.

Mabry shared the story of meeting with her criminal justice/pre-law professor, Dr. Paul Moke, who inquired about her plans following graduation. She had nothing concrete in the works. “Paul said, ‘Jayme, I cannot let you graduate unless I know you’re going to law school,’” she recalled, noting that Moke advised and assisted her with the comprehensive, law school application process.

“My professors and staff at WC saw something in me I didn’t see in myself and they were able to pull it out of me and use it as a touchstone in my education,” she said. “They knew what I was capable of and had so much faith in me and what I could accomplish — they emboldened me to be my best self!”

Bates said the campaign goals invest in all those people like Moke who place students first and enhance their Wilmington College experiences. Complementing those efforts will be investments in not only on-campus, residential facilities but also in enhancing numerous co-curricular learning environments.

“We’re excited about making improvements in our housing operations and our spaces where our students are learning, and those facilities in which they apply what they learn in the classroom,” Bates said.

Finally, the third pillar addresses the college’s endowment, which provides a means for student scholarships and other financial aid, as well as enhancing current operations.

“We want to make sure we have the scholarship dollars and the resources to be sustainable in many of the initiatives that we know make WC such a special place,” Bates added.

Brad Schwamberger, class of 1983, is a highly engaged alumnus who’s shared his time, treasure and talents with the college. Now retired, he volunteers as a curator of Hazard Arboretum and guest teaches in college horticulture classes, as well as supporting his alma mater financially and as a leader of the Sam Marble Society.

“Years ago, the college made this commitment to help educate me. They took a chance on me,” Schwamberger said. “My experiences and education at WC are part of my DNA. I believe in the mission of this institution and, every time I walk on this campus, I realize the investment I’ve made in Wilmington College is in its students. I see it as an investment in the future. That might not be my future, but it’s somebody’s future.”

Bates noted that upon hearing the testimonials from Mabry and Schwamberger, “It’s not a casual relationship these alumni have with this college — there is love!”

Submitted by Randall Sarvis, senior director of public relations, Wilmington College.

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