LINDSBORG, KAN., October 17, 2011—During a celebration of the 130th anniversary of Bethany College on October 7, President Edward F. Leonard III announced Bethany’s 20-year strategic vision and first comprehensive campaign, Engage the Future. The campaign’s stretch goal is to raise $25 million by the end of 2014 in this first campaign and begin to transform Bethany for its 150th anniversary in 2031.
The announcement was made at the third setting of the Lindsborg Svensk Hyllningsfest smorgasbord, which was reserved for Bethany’s guests of alumni and friends, Lindsborg residents, and faculty and staff of the college.
The audience applauded as Leonard announced the gains Bethany has made in the past four years, including an increase in enrollment of almost 18%, an increase of 11% in freshman-to-sophomore retention, and an operating budget that will balance without funds from the endowment. “But I am not here to declare victory, though we have done the difficult,” said Leonard. “Quite to the contrary, I stand here to ask, what’s next? What’s the path forward?”
Bethany College began defining the path forward in 2009 when President Leonard established two campus-wide work groups called “Righting Our Economic Model” and “Imagineering the Bethany College of the 21st Century.”
Bethany was charged with fundamentally restructuring its economic model to achieve long-term financial stability, as demonstrated by balancing the budget, limiting the endowment usage, and not deferring facilities maintenance, which create hidden liabilities. The actions taken have begun paying off, as shown by the balanced budget projection for this year.
The second work group formed was the Imagineering effort to envision Bethany for the 21st century. Fusing imagination and creative problem solving with engineering and analytical problem solving, the group focused on value innovation. The result is a plan to become a leader in the marketplace through an exceptional student experience of seamless curricular and co-curricular experiences.
To make this Imagineered Bethany a reality, Bethany has launched the $25 million comprehensive campaign. This campaign, the largest one ever for the college, will end in 2014 as the first in a series of campaigns. The funding will improve brick-and-mortar facilities, the endowment, and current operations so that Bethany can achieve its performance goals. By 2031, Bethany will:
· Enroll 1,500 students from 50 states and 50 countries with 25% of students being international,
· Retain 84% of students from the freshman to sophomore year,
· Receive financial support from 30% of alumni,
· Increase the endowment to $100 million,
· Enhancing the campus, facilities, and technology so that they are accessible and state-of-practice,
· Embrace equity and equality throughout the college, and
· Partner with the city of Lindsborg to become a national model of town-gown best practices.
Over half of the $25 million goal has already been raised. “This campaign actually began when our renaissance began more than four years ago, and we’ve been successful in securing many gifts and pledges toward our goal,” said Leonard. “I am pleased to share that gifts and pledges received by the college as of today total almost $13.1 million.”
Leonard ended by asking, “This vision and first campaign most certainly represent a defining moment in our history. They also most certainly represent a clarion call to the many who love Bethany to respond to the ancient Hebrew call to action, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning and service. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu/.