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Posted July 18, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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University reaches its $65M goal

WINCHESTER — The “Spirit of Shenandoah” is alive and well.

Despite the economy, Shenandoah University has met and exceeded its $65 million fundraising goal on schedule, campaign Chairman James R. Wilkins Jr. announced Friday morning during a meeting of the executive committee of the university’s board of trustees.

In a statement, Wilkins said the accomplishment is a testament to “the commitment of the faculty and staff, the strength of our student body and the warmth and generosity of our alumni and friends.”

“I am excited by the many new donors who have been motivated to make their first gifts to the university through this campaign and impressed by those who have created a lasting legacy at SU through their inspirational gifts,” Wilkins said.

When the public phase of the “Spirit of Shenandoah” campaign was launched in October 2006, the university had already raised $45.6 million behind the scenes over a period of three years.

Led by Wilkins and Vice Chairman Harry S. Smith, SU enlisted the assistance of more than 130 volunteers to raise money for various capital projects and to significantly increase the private university’s endowment, which provides funds for student scholarships, faculty chairs and academic support.

Capital improvements made possible by the campaign include:

  • Brandt Student Center, a 40,000-square-foot facility, which opened in 2008. A three-level parking garage, to accommodate a growing student population, was completed in 2006.

  • Halpin-Harrison Hall, the new 60,000-square-foot home of the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business, which welcomed students on the first day of the spring semester in January 2008.

  • Davis Hall, named for former President James A. Davis upon his retirement, which is the new home of the Shenandoah University History & Tourism Center and History Department, the Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center and the Civil War Orientation Center for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. It was dedicated in May 2008.

  • The Vickers Communication Center, home of the Shenandoah University Television and ABC affiliate TV3 Winchester, which opened in March 2007.

  • The Kathryn Perry-Werner End-Zone Building at SU’s Shentel Stadium, which was dedicated at the beginning of the 2006 football season. In June 2008, the playing field at Shentel Stadium was converted to a pro-style artificial turf in-fill system, which covers more than 93,000 square feet.

SU’s total endowment consists of 250 separate endowments. Of those, 70 are the result of the campaign.

“A strong endowment is what makes an education possible for the 85 percent of students who receive financial aid,” said Smith. “It also attracts top-quality students and faculty and provides for opportunities in research and academic programs. All of these factors contribute to Shenandoah’s ability to continue to gain national prominence in the higher education arena.”

The campaign total also includes more than $30 million in unrestricted and restricted operating funds for the university.

“The Spirit of Shenandoah campaign may have come to a close,” SU President Tracy Fitzsimmons said, “but the spirits of those dedicated to moving Shenandoah University forward and toward new levels of excellence will continue to flourish as we collaborate to build stronger relationships and explore new directions.”

— Daily Staff Report

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