By President Jo Allen, ’80
Our $75 million campaign for Meredith, Beyond Strong, continues to gain momentum and produce great results with record fundraising, enhanced visibility, and generous “buzz” about the College. We count every dollar as your extraordinary investment in Meredith College.
Already, we are seeing the dynamic results of investing in the College. First is the investment in scholarships that support greater enrollment outcomes (2015 saw the second largest new student enrollment in the history of the College, while 2016 saw the highest number of applications in the history of the College). These enrollment statistics tell us that more students are considering Meredith (part of that buzz I mentioned) and that support for scholarships and financial aid (for academic merit and for financial need) has never been more critical – or impactful.
Second is the investment in our faculty and staff, whose professional qualifications and productivity are prime testimony to their rigorous intellectual abilities, their up-to-date content and teaching methods, and their care for the academic and personal success of each student. Interestingly, in our latest 24-hour day of giving challenge, when asked whom they wanted to honor with their gifts, the overwhelming majority of donors specified not a roommate or relative or friend, but a faculty or staff member.
The third form of investment in the College supports our facilities, most notably demonstrated by the recent renovation of Johnson Hall. We are underway with the construction of a new fitness center and have plans to renovate Kresge Auditorium, residence hall lounges (parlors), and classroom/office space.
Other investments include supporting our initiative to enhance our visibility. Our brand, Going Strong, is met with widespread kudos from our students, alumnae, and even from our competitors. (No wonder the marketing team just won four professional recognition awards from CASE, the national organization supporting higher education marketing and fundraising!)
The other side of the equation, of course, is our own responsibility to hold down costs of tuition and fees as much as possible. In the past three years, we have held annual tuition increases to less than 3.9%. Any increase reflects the rising costs we face – costs that reverberate through every aspect of the College. Just as with a small city, Meredith has to support housing (residence halls), restaurants (Belk Dining Hall and the BeeHive Cafe), security, utilities, maintenance, grounds, housekeeping, transportation, entertainment – all in addition to the primary mission and investment of the College in classrooms, the library, technology, and, of course, our exceptional faculty and staff.
Ultimately, being able to fund all these elements of a quality experience demonstrates why we are so very grateful for all that our donors invest in Meredith. If you have made a gift to Meredith to support our work, to invest in the next generation of outstanding leaders, and to reflect any of the gratitude and passion you feel for this College, we thank you. You have made a wise investment.