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Proud Heritage, Strong Future campaign wraps up


On December 31, 2018, Tennessee Wesleyan University received the last check for the Proud Heritage, Strong Future campaign surpassing the original goal to raise $16 million. The public phase of the campaign began in April 2015 and set out to improve the campus experience for current and future students by honoring the rich history.

Co-chairs Allen Carter and Shirley Woodcock (‘78) were charged with leading four funding priorities: annual fund support, student scholarships, academic support and facility enhancements, including the construction of the new 30,000 square foot Colloms Campus Center. After the public launch in 2015, Carter was excited about the improvements to campus and the new campus center stating, “we’ve always done a good job of having Tennessee Wesleyan as the centerpiece, but when we get this new student center, there will be no question about it. With the big community room and the energy and atmosphere around that student center, it’ll transform the whole place. It’ll transform the college. It’ll transform the community.”

Highlighting the future

In the end, the campaign far exceeded the original goal by 138% resulting in $22,068,004 ensuring a strong future of Tennessee Wesleyan students. Highlights of the impact include:

  • 28 new scholarships and increasing funding for 53 existing scholarships totaling $4.1 million;
  • creation of the Kilbride Nature Sanctuary from the property donation by Bill and Mary Kilbride;
  • renovations to Reece Hall where the new Communications Studies program is housed;
  • the Muriel S. Mayfield Gallery, an art gallery located on the first floor of Reece Hall;
  • Colloms Campus Center, named for the Honorable Carl E. Colloms;
  • a new campus restaurant named for Athens native, Dr. Burkett Whitt;
  • a community room, located in Colloms Campus Center, for University and local events, the Johnson Event Center to honor George R. and Doris Johnson;
  • the Mosher Success Center where students can go for support when they may be struggling academically or looking for advice for their careers;
  • upgrade classrooms in historic buildings by improving technologies to enhance learning for students across campus
  • new undergraduate academic programs like social work, communications studies, environmental science and engineering science;
  • create two graduate-level programs – the Master of Business Administration program, a fully online program with two in-demand emphases (management and accounting), and the Master of Occupational Therapy program that will welcome its first students in fall 2019;
  • updates to athletics facilities including locker rooms and workout spaces;
  • improvements to the baseball stadium, now named Athens Insurance Stadium to honor the employees of Athens Insurance;
  • establishment of the Goodfriend School of Business from the lead gift of Robert and Wendy Goodfriend; and
  • renovations to Elliott Hall provided by Ginny Elliott housing the Ginny Elliott Financial Center, The Bryan Jackson Classroom and the Goodfriend Seminar Room.

These campus improvements, expansion of academic offerings and increasing scholarships contribute to the TWU experience for anyone who visits the campus.

Creating a hub of student activity

Reflecting on the first capital campaign in nearly 20 years, President Dr. Harley Knowles commented, “the generosity of the more than 2,300 donors is a direct reflection of the impact this University has had on its alumni and the community. We are fortunate to have a group of people who care strongly about continuing that impact for generations to come.” He added, “our students are already seeing those dollars put to work in their classrooms and especially the new Colloms Campus Center.” As expected, the campus center has become a hub of student activity where students gather for studying, socializing and support.

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On March 28, 2019 donors, students, faculty and staff gathered in the Johnson Event Center, located on the second floor of Colloms Campus Center, to celebrate all 22,068,004 reasons this campaign was successful. Students, representing each of the areas impacted by donors, shared the news of the total amount by parading in with each number. The night concluded with joyous jazz music and photos with Wesley, TWU’s Bulldog mascot.

Co-chair, Shirley Woodcock shared similar reflections as President Knowles remarking, “this campaign has touched so many people in so many ways, and all of them are positive. As you walk through campus, you can see the excitement on their faces. We are blessed!”

Top University

Focusing on preparing leaders for a global world, TWU donors and friends have made a commitment to providing the best liberal arts college experience in the region. President Knowles adds, “the improved learning spaces with upgraded technologies place Tennessee Wesleyan as one of the top universities in the region, and that will continue to grow as we focus on utilizing these funds for continued improvements to meet the demands of the region.”
Just as the name suggests, this campaign will ensure a strong future for the University and students for years to come.