When a gift is more than a gift…

2 Oct

LMU_WordmarkWhen I arrived on campus at LMU eight years ago it wasn’t my first foray into life and work in academia. As I may have mentioned before, I spent two years in media relations at the University of Tennessee working for Lady Vol Athletics. Before that, there was the four years I spent as a student at St. Bonaventure University. Schools big or small; public or private; religiously affiliated or lay; vary greatly in size, structure and scope of their staff and administration. I have observed in every stop of my journey that public relations, media relations and marketing vary greatly depending on that structure.

Here at LMU, PR and Marketing is part of University Advancement. In my previous stops PR was grouped with communications as its own division. I will admit there it was an adjustment for me. I had to change my mindset slightly. Where I was used to focusing my attention on media relations and publicity above and beyond anything else, in University Advancement donor relations take precedent. Yes, a positive public image is always an end goal, but how our messaging will impact donors should also be considered. Even as a student, receiving donor-funded scholarships I had never considered a donors role at an institution.

Yesterday was designated as a Day of Giving at LMU. The day was set aside by President Dawson to encourage giving to LMU. Coming about a month ahead of National Philanthropy day, our goal was to encourage giving and make students, faculty and staff aware of how giving impacts everyone at LMU. It is easy to look at the rapid growth the University has experienced over the last decade and see the physical impact of large gifts to the University. There are Pope, Mitchell, Dishner, Langley, Shelton and Burchett residence halls. All of the new residence halls were built with funds from generous donors. Not to mention the new academic buildings or renovation and revitalization of some of our most storied structures.

What you can’t always see is how gifts large and small have indirect impacts for the University. I give through payroll deduction. My monthly gift of $20 comes out of my paycheck and I don’t even miss it. That is $240 for the year, not a huge donation or commitment on my part. One might argue it is like taking a decrease in pay, but I know that gift makes a difference. Not only can LMU put my $20 a month in to the annual fund, they also can count me in the employee giving rate. In fact, the division of University Advancement has a 100% giving rate. That means everyone in our division makes at least one gift in a year.

LMU was also named an Up-and-Coming institution in the South.

LMU was also named an Up-and-Coming institution in the South.

Giving rates are tools that grant funders, foundations and philanthropists often request when deciding what organizations that they will support. The rate at which employees and alumni giving paint a powerful picture of the support an institution enjoys. The great thing about giving rates is that is a calculation of participation. Whether you give $1, $240 or $1,000 you are counted.

Giving rates also have an effect on rankings and recognition for a school. In the latest US News and World Report college rankings LMU made gains in its ranking on the Regional Universities list, moving from No. 80 to No. 66. One of the categories looked at in compiling that list is giving rates.

I support LMU because I believe in its mission. I believe that education at every level improves a person’s quality of life and I believe that LMU is making lives better by providing educational opportunities in Appalachia and beyond. And I believe that my $20 a month makes a difference for LMU. I see it every day and I challenge you to consider matching my gift with a gift of your own. It doesn’t have to be made monthly and it doesn’t have to be more than $1, but think of the good we could do if every person who reads this entry gave to LMU.

Recipients of donor-funded scholarships pose for a photo during the LMU Day of Giving activities.

Recipients of donor-funded scholarships pose for a photo during the LMU Day of Giving activities.

Here we GROW again!

9 Jul

LMU_WordmarkWhen I started work at Lincoln Memorial University on September 15, 2005, the University was a small, liberal arts institution with a main campus in Harrogate, Tenn., and a small handful of extended learning sites where primarily graduate education was delivered. Our student population was under 2,000. At the time that I interviewed for my position there was no mention of possible growth or impending plans to add professional programs. Shortly after I started Vice President for University Advancement Cynthia Whitt, my boss, handed me a brochure on osteopathic medicine and said “oh, learn more about this… we are looking at the possibility of adding a school of osteopathic medicine here.”

The LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

That was almost eight years ago. Today our enrollment is over 4,000 students, LMU operates 10 extended learning sites, and not only do we have the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, it is now one of the largest medical school programs in the state. In addition to osteopathic medicine, LMU-DCOM is home to a top-notch Physician Assistant Program. And the University hasn’t limited its growth to the medical field. In 2009 the LMU-Duncan School of Law opened in Knoxville. As an institution, LMU-DSOL’s Inaugural Class graduation was a highlight of spring. Over my tenure there has also been tremendous physical growth on the main campus as five new residence halls and two new classroom facilities have been built.

One might think that with all that growth, the University would take a breather. However, today is another momentous day for LMU as we announce that the University has been granted a Letter of Reasonable Assurance by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education (COE) and can now recruit students to the emerging LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM).
As LMU Board of Trustees Chairman Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk said in the press release, “The approval from the COE to open a new school of veterinary medicine in Harrogate, Tenn., will propel this University to even greater heights and establish LMU as a leader in professional studies for the region.”

The University first announced its plans to pursue a college of veterinary medicine in 2011. Since then a dedicated pocket of LMU administrators and newly hired program directors have been working diligently toward the accreditation process. This group has worked tirelessly toward this day. However, there is no time to sit back and bask in the glow of today. It’s time to push forward and work harder than ever on program development. As the admissions team kicks into high-gear, recruiting the LMU-CVM inaugural class, faculty has to be hired and community partnerships lined up.

LMU is now recruiting for the emerging LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn.

LMU is now recruiting for the emerging LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn.

There is no time to rest because here we grow again!

Sunday Snapshot: New digs for the Knights

7 Jul
Farr-Chinnock Hall -- the new home to the J. Frank White Academy.

Farr-Chinnock Hall — the new home to the J. Frank White Academy.

Work continues on renovations to Farr-Chinnock Hall, the former home to math and science at LMU. Once completed, the facility will house the J. Frank White Academy. The work should be complete in August, just in time for a new school year. Picture is the new addition of a back entrance to accommodate drop-off and pick-up. Changes to the current road are also underway to assist with traffic flow.

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Saturday Snapshot: Rain, Rain Go Away

6 Jul
A view from the Pinnacle.

A view from the Pinnacle.

As the rainy July 4th weekend continues, I wanted to share a view of campus from a brighter day. This shot was taken from the Pinnacle during a publications photo shoot earlier this spring. So despite the rain, remember how beautiful our area can be.

More recreation options on campus

5 Jul

This week I have already discussed the pool and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum as entertainment options on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tenn. But did you know that they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recreation on campus?

The University makes most of its facilities available for public use including the driving range at the Railsplitter Golf Practice facility. The range is located at the base of the hill leading to the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. It is open daily, from 9 a.m. to dusk Monday-Saturday and from 1 p.m. to dusk on Sunday. Managed by LMU Golf Coach Travis Muncy, it is staffed by a mix of LMU golfers and professional golf management majors. Buckets range from $4 for a small to $11 for a large. It’s a great place to work on your swing.

Not a golfer? There is more. When the University completed the Poteet Tennis Complex behind Tex Turner a little over a year ago, it decided to keep the old tennis courts. Located to the right of the Arena and directly behind the Softball Complex, the older courts are now used by the J. Frank White Academy tennis team and made available for public use.

If organized sport is not your thing, LMU also opens the Tex Turner Arena for walking from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. On Wednesdays, the Arena is closed for cleaning until 11 a.m. And campus is always open for walking, running and biking on the greenway that stretches the length of campus.
The University is also home to Harrogate City Park, which sits adjacent to the University. LMU works to maintain the park’s beauty and to add improvements over time to better serve the community.

The University has worked diligently to provide reasonable accommodations to its patrons with disabilities. LMU has been very sensitive in ensuring that all new construction and existing facilities provide reasonable accommodations for inclusiveness in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). LMU has recently added ADA Compliant swings.

Amenities include:
• Handicap Accessible
• 20.70 acres
• Pavilions (1 large, 2 small)
• Picnic Tables
• Gazebo (1)
• Basketball Court
• Volleyball Court
• Skateboard park
• Horseshoe Pits
• Walking Trail
• Bike Track
• Playgrounds
• Sandbox
• Swing-sets with ADA compliant swings
• Rest Rooms
• Vending Machines
• Harrogate City Park is under Campus surveillance at all times.
Harrogate City Park pavilions & picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Charcoal grills are provided on-site. You must bring your own charcoal and grills must be cleaned before usage. For more information or questions about the park, please contact Karen Farmer at (423) 869-7409.

Summer is a great time to recreate and LMU is home to some of the best recreation in the area.

Celebrating Freedom with FREE Admission!

4 Jul

In honor of the birth of the United States of America, Lincoln Memorial University and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is offering free admission to the Museum through the weekend.
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With one of the most extensive collections of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War artifacts in private hands, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum on the LMU Main Campus in Harrogate, Tenn., is a must-see for history enthusiasts. It also offers a wonderful experience for families looking for a special outing. Exhibited are many rare items – the cane Lincoln carried that fateful night at Ford’s Theatre, two life masks, the tea set he and Mary Todd used in their home in Springfield, and numerous other artifacts. Approximately 30,000 books, manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, paintings and sculptures tell the story of President Lincoln and the Civil War period in America’s history. There are also children activities and interactive exhibits. Kids can don Civil War era clothes and partake in games and past times from the era.

While enjoying free admission to the ALLM, be sure to travel on down the road and visit the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park located just five minutes away in Middlesboro, Ky. Another great stop is the town of Cumberland Gap, which is home to quaint shops and LMU’s art studio which features a special Arts in the Gap exhibit this summer.

Splish-splashing summer away

3 Jul

Summer is here and the LMU Pool is overflowing with activity. Swimming lessons naturally come to mind when pool use and time is the water is at an all-time high. It’s no wonder that the summer session swim lessons at the LMU Pool are 90% full. However, swimming lessons are not all that is happening in the water of the Mary S. Annan Natatorium.

Director of Aquatic Services Floyde Anne Gardner and Children’s Aquatics Coordinator Kathleen Francisco have put together a full slate of activities including deep and shallow water aerobics, adaptive swim and LMU’s very own swim club, Aqua-Splitters. A therapeutic arthritis class is also available. Additionally, there are daily opportunities for lap swim and senior swim. Open swim is also available.

Francisco introduced LMU’s competitive swim program for youth just over a year ago. The program is split into three groups with various training sessions. Aqua-Splitters includes ages 9 and up, Junior Aqua-Splitter includes ages 8 and below and Aquamarines is a synchronized swimming class. Participants pay by session, so there is no long term commitment. Most of the LMU classes are available on a pay as you go schedule. A notable exception is the swimming lessons.

So as temperatures soar outside, come see what the splashing is about. For all the details click here http://www.lmunet.edu/curstudents/pool/.

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