Bethany College President Edward F. Leonard III stated that this is “a significant, defining moment in the life of the college,” when he recently announced that the most recent fundraising campaign has exceeded its original goal by $2 million and has concluded one year earlier than planned.
Engage the Future: The Campaign for Bethany College, announced publicly in 2011 with a goal of $20 million, is the first in a series of fundraising campaigns to help Bethany College achieve its 20-year vision for the future and has secured gifts and pledges in excess of $22 million. Engage the Future is the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of the college and a springboard for a continued Bethany renaissance.
Through the generous support of Bethany alumni and friends to the campaign, the college has made strides in several facility improvement projects including the Campus Green, Swedes Suites, Nelson Science labs, and sports facility updates. However, the most distinctive campus project included in this campaign is the Bud Pearson Swedish Chapel and J.E. & L.E. Mabee Welcome Center currently under constructed in the center of campus. The chapel’s location and its design are both reflective of the Swedish and Lutheran heritage of Bethany College. The facility will provide hospitality for all who worship, visit, learn and work in the Bethany community. Completion is expected late this summer.
“This represents a bold, innovative, and disruptive move for us as it is the first fully fundraised building at Bethany in over 30 years,” President Leonard said, “and we raised the money in the worst of economic climates.”
In addition to the success of this most recent campaign, Bethany has also experienced a 26 percent enrollment growth over the past six years, which represents the largest six-year enrollment growth in the last 40 years. Helping drive the growth is the freshman to sophomore retention rate at 64 percent this past year.
President Leonard also noted that academic programs, such as Bethany Pathway, a new integrated student experience for the first two years of college, and its new program in media and digital arts, called Bethany College @ MindFire, are also driving the enrollment growth and renaissance of the college.