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Charleston Business

Furman Campaign Launches With Goal of $426 Million By 2026

Apr 17, 2023 12:35PM ● By David Dykes

(University President Elizabeth Davis launches the Clearly Furman campaign with the financial goal of $426 million. Photo courtesy of Furman University.)

Furman University announced on April 15, 2023, its largest campaign ever. Clearly Furman, the campaign for a third century, aims to raise $426 million by 2026, the start of the university’s next 100 years.

The announcement came on a clear evening during a kickoff event, the Purple Party, with more than 750 Furman faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered on Roberts Rugby Pitch in purple shirts and sneakers to celebrate. 

Cheerleaders and the pep band, led by Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Byrne ’91, kicked off the party.

(Visit Furman’s Instagram channel @FurmanUniversity or search #ClearlyFurman to view photos and videos from the launch.)

The party capped off three days of activities showcasing scholarship, innovation, engaged learning and other academic endeavors by students, faculty and staff at the Paladin PitchFurman Engaged and Furman Showcase. At the end of the evening, Furman President Elizabeth Davis announced the campaign’s goal.

“This is Furman’s moment. This is our moment,” Davis said. “Our moment to come together, to propel our university into its third century with a clear vision and the resources to meet our enormous potential.”

Davis said everyone will play a role in the campaign. “We will, through our faculty, staff and graduates – and with your support – influence action and ideas across the 21st century. We must be bold. We must be ambitious. Now is our time. Please join us.”

Campaign Co-Chair Robert Hill ’83 said, “And now, just as we celebrated our thrilling and historic win (in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament), let’s hit the buzzer and launch this historic and transformational campaign!”

Hill and his wife, campaign Co-Chair Margaret Hill ’83, joined Davis and the three pressed a ceremonial launch button. A sweeping, inspiring video played, then fireworks lit up the sky.

A “quiet” leadership phase has already raised more than $309 million, thanks in part to a $10 million commitment by David Trone ’77 and his wife, June, for student mental health and to create the Hillel Endowment Fund, and a $10 million commitment by Ravenel Curry III ’63 for renovations to Timmons Arena, the cornerstone of a $40 million project that is 83 percent funded. Furman has also received more than $52.5 million from The Duke Endowment to fund The Furman Advantage.

Campaigns aren’t just about raising large sums of money, said Heidi Hansen McCrory, vice president for development.

“The Clearly Furman campaign provides a moment for Furman to focus on our future, and to seek the philanthropy that makes that future come to life,” McCrory said prior to the launch. “It’s an opportunity to engage everyone in the life of the university, and a real opportunity to express our pride in some public ways.”

It’s not just Furman’s future that the campaign aims to change, McCrory said.

“What really matters is making the world a better place through Furman and the philanthropic support of this campaign. How do we change the world through our students, faculty, staff, alumni and through what we do on this campus?”

The university has identified six major initiatives for the campaign.

Scholarships, Teaching and Academic Programs: $130 million. Scholarships, professorships, department initiatives. “We know the world needs the skills of Furman graduates more than ever,” McCrory said. “We want to ensure that every student who wants to be at Furman has that opportunity, and scholarships make that possible.”

The Furman Advantage: $126 million. The Duke Endowment has helped fund Furman’s unique approach to student success, including Pathways, student research, study away and internships. The funds would permanently endow The Furman Advantage.

Wellness, Belonging and Community: $30 million. This helps fund The Center for Inclusive Communities and programs for students that focus on wellness, belonging, community, and mental and physical fitness and health.

Athletics, Coaching and Competitiveness: $50 million. Most of these funds will finance the renovation of Timmons Arena, but also provide scholarships and funds for recruiting, coaches’ salaries and other needs that help the Paladins compete on and off the field.

The Institutes: $40 million. Furman has four institutes that conduct research and give students unique opportunities to engage with the community and with the private sector. They are The Shi Institute for Sustainable CommunitiesThe Hill Institute for Innovation and EntrepreneurshipThe Institute for the Advancement of Community Health and The Riley Institute.

The Annual Fund: $50 million. This fund allows the university to respond to the most pressing needs of the institution and ensures all students receive the high-impact learning experiences that will prepare them for meaningful lives and careers.

Beginning this summer, the Clearly Furman campaign will go on the road, visiting alumni and friends in 27 cities over the next three years, starting in New York in June.