Thank You for a Giving Spirit
April 14, 2017
Dear JU Community,
As I look outside my office window at the great oaks lining our beautiful Swisher Science Green, I am reminded of their strength and majesty. Due to variables in weather or location, their development differs, and only when we examine them closely are we able to determine their growth and character. With that in mind, let me say last week’s birthday celebration of Jacksonville University featured all of the hallmarks of unprecedented growth and maturation for the culture of our campus community. Congratulations and thanks to you are well in order.
In our third year of this growing tradition, more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents served our local Arlington community during our Charter Day of Service. In my decades of history with this University, I have not witnessed such a showing of meaningful, engaging community outreach. Hosting hundreds of admitted students and their families to our festive lunch in the heart of campus added an exciting new dimension to the day, and hearing the bell ring each time a new student (literally) invested in us was truly the sound of success.
The spirit of #JUGives continues gaining momentum on all levels. In addition to our ambitious service work, there is also the essential fundraising accomplished through the Big Green Give – now our primary annual fundraising drive. In just three short years, our students, alumni, parents, friends and supporters have embraced the idea of a day of giving that holds lasting promise for our institution. Last year’s goal was to secure more funding than we had the year prior – and we tripled our dollars raised. This year’s goal was to increase our number of donors, as a wider donor pool creates a more sustainable fundraising foundation. I am pleased to report we attracted 10x (that’s ten times!) the number of donors to support our University. An encouraging sign and a clear nod to each of you for your spirit of partnership.
Heartfelt and personal thanks to our faculty and staff for your enthusiastic support again this year. Those in the academic leadership created innovative challenges across the colleges to compete for the Dolphin Cup – a handsome trophy to display, plus $500 in funding. Collective employee investments totaled more than $14,492 this year. Special congratulations to the Davis College of Business for winning the Dolphin Cup this year. Dean Capener will no doubt find a suitable place to display the trophy and put the winnings to good use to benefit our students.
It is with tremendous gratitude and JU pride that I announce that we successfully engaged more than 1,950 (and growing) supporters to secure more than $307,500 in philanthropic investment during Charter Week. Our Board of Trustees actively joined the campaign this year, and thanks to broad participation and two matching challenges, raised more than $100,000. Enthusiasm and commitment can create the path to success, and our Chairman of the Board, Charlie Tomm, offered leadership and energy for which we should all be thankful. In addition, the careful coordination between many departments to execute this year’s Charter Week, seamlessly integrated with the Big Green Give, represents what strategic collaboration can accomplish within an organization. Athletics’ effort – our “Dolphin Dash” – in partnership with University Advancement, generated a tremendous amount of goodwill through healthy competition for our sports teams and fans. Women’s Softball was victorious in attracting the highest number of unique donors with 298 individual contributors. Well done to all, as many of our athletics friends and supporters have now become investors. These are all good, early signs of enduring progress.
I hope you’ll agree that Charter Week 2017 illustrates how the JU Family comes together in service and generosity to make our University a better institution. We continue to honor our mission established in 1934, deepening our relationships in and beyond Jacksonville. I look forward to continuing our momentum this month, culminating in a shining Spring Commencement for our graduating students and their families on April 29, 2017.
Sincerely, with Appreciation,
Class of 1981