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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

TU announces $500 million campaign goal

Receives financial gifts, funds Taylor Thrives

A Taylor University campaign goal of $500 million, of which $275 million has already been raised to fund Taylor Thrives’ strategic plan, was announced Friday, April 26.

The ‘Life to the Full’ $500 million campaign is the largest fundraising effort in Taylor University’s 178-year history, Lindsay announced at the President’s Vision Gala April 26.

The university received a record 47 gifts of seven figures ($1 million) or greater, including a $20 million gift for scholarships and a $40 million gift for academic initiatives, according to the Life to the Full press release

“Over 14,000 people have contributed to the ‘Life to the Full’ campaign already, and we're just going public today,” the president said at the Gala. “We've been blessed with over 45 gifts that have come from different families or individuals that are over a million dollars in prayer to try and help support what we're doing. But much more than the money we've raised: This is about changed lives.”

It is not just students’ lives that are changing, Lindsay said. 

“We're changing our own lives in the process,” the president said. “God is doing something exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask for and imagine, and in the process, God is drawing us closer to a deeper dependence on what he is calling us to do in the days ahead.”

The president said the university’s approach to this new campaign is a bit unusual. Instead of tending only to the university, Taylor Thrives seeks to invest in the surrounding community.

Taylor hopes to use $75 million of the $500 million, coming from public grants and private investments, to build up the Upland community. This is done through creatively combining philanthropy and public and private investment dollars — seen through the Main Street Mile initiative. 

“And this is new territory — we think we may be the first university that actually set a goal to raise money for things not on their own campus,” Lindsay said.

The campaign for Taylor is 60% funded and will go primarily to Taylor Thrives, Daniel Woglemuth, member of the Taylor Board of Trustees, chair of the advancement committee and president emeritus of Youth For Christ USA, said. 

Taylor Thrives is the university’s strategic plan in which more than 50 initiatives have already been completed, including the Ph.D. in Leadership, Horne Academic Center, Hodson Dining Commons renovation, Stillman Fieldhouse, Roth Center for Missions Computing and the Residential Village. 

The ‘Life to the Full’ campaign not only impacts Upland and Grant County, but also invests in the breadth of the students affected, Lindsay said.

“At Taylor University, we know who we are, and we boldly proclaim that Christ is the center of everything we do, and it’s drawing record levels of interest,” the president said in the Life to the Full press release. “‘Life to the Full’ is more than an ambitious campaign — the Board of Trustees and I view this as a calling from God to make room for more mission-aligned students.”

Part of the Taylor Thrives is to widen the circle of learners. 

The plan is to grow the residential student body by 25% from 2,000 students on campus, including undergraduate and graduate, to 2,500. Part of the plan is to increase opportunities for dual-enrollment classes and TU online, Lindsay said. To do that, Taylor needs to be able to expand some of the academic offerings. 

For fall 2023, there were 1,889 undergraduate degree-seeking students, Edwin Welch, director of institutional research and associate registrar, said. 

Based on models, he anticipates around 2,040 undergraduate students at Taylor in fall 2024.  

“This is the place where the Lord uses ordinary people to bear extraordinary witness to the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, and in the process of recruiting more of these amazing students, we will help significantly expand the impact of what Taylor can do for generations to come,” Lindsay said at the Gala. “When an environment of higher education is thinking about what faculty positions can they cut, what facilities can they subtract, they're shrinking and subtracting. We're going the complete opposite route; we're trying to grow and add because as we like to say at Taylor, ‘There's always room for one more.’”

The president said the university wants to grow and add, not shrink and subtract – the first big idea of building a thriving campus.

The $40 million gift for the academic initiatives includes investments in academic programming in the health sciences, innovation and entrepreneurship, data and computing sciences and leadership as well as boosts to undergraduate enrollment and expansions in  graduate opportunities, according to the Life to the Full press release

All of the following individuals spoke at the President’s Vision Gala: 

Musician Chris Tomlin; President Michael Lindsay; Provost Jewerl Maxwell; Will Hagen, vice president for strategy and chief of staff; Holly Whitby, vice president for enrollment and marketing; Mike Falder, vice president for University Advancement; Daniel S. Wolgemuth, president emeritus of Youth For Christ USA; Chris Goeglein, managing partner of True North Strategic Advisors, LLC and on the Taylor Board of Trustees; Chuck Surack, founder of Sweetwater Sound; Kathy Stevens, on the Taylor Board of Trustees and owner of Opex Corporation; Manuel Rosado, president of Spectrum Investment Advisors, Inc. and on the Taylor Board of Trustees; Alan Jones (’02), principal at Fort Wayne Community Schools and Taylor alumnus; Roger Muselman; Jess Rogers; Brett and Amy Michel; Bob Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer, Potbelly Sandwich Works.