Date: April 12, 2007
It's been a week for celebration at Andrews University. At a special chapel assembly on Thursday, April 12, President Niels-Erik Andreasen announced that the university had received the largest gift from a private donor in its history, a gift which rings in at the grand total of $8.5 million.
The donation was sent via a personal check in a simple, white envelope, unpretentious and certainly not the kind of packaging in which one expects to receive such a generous gift.
The donor is an Adventist couple from the Northwest, whose name is not being released at this time.
"This gift will help you transform the university and get it on the road to a 'New Andrews for a New Century,'" the donor said in conversation with David Faehner, vice president for university advancement. "God has been so good to me, how can I not be generous in return?"
"He's a visionary. Optimistic and positive--he wants action and moves fast," Faehner said about the donor. "He talks about his dreams and then says 'challenge me--what do you need at Andrews?'"
This gift will literally transform the campus in several ways. Per the donor's request, the money has been allotted to several specific campus projects.
Funds will be disbursed as follows:
*Construction of the new entrance on Old US 31
* Two endowed chairs: one for the Marketing Department in the School of Business Administration and the second in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary's Christian Ministry Department
* Construction of a milking parlor for the Andrews Dairy
* Refurbish the kitchen and dining facilities in the Campus Center
* Support for the educational program of the Aeronautics Department
The largest portion of the gift is designated for the refurbishment of the top floor of the university's Campus Center. Built in 1962, the building is long overdue for an overhaul. The Campus Center is home to the cafeteria--the Terrace Cafe, Student Life, International Student Services, Campus Ministries, and the Student Association Offices, and serves as the general campus meeting place for students. Plans exist for a total refurbishment of the building, but renovations will start with Food Service.
"This generous gift to Andrews University, and in particular to Food Service, opens the way to be able to update and expand our services to students, faculty, staff and guests, as well as provide a pleasant place for customers to socialize and enjoy their meals," commented Bennett Chilson, director of Food Service. "We expect that the renovation of this floor of the Campus Center will move in stages, permitting us to continue to serve the campus as the work progresses. The first major portion of the project will include an expansion of the Terrace Cafe to allow more efficient traffic flow to food stations, such as the traditional hot food lines, grill/short-order station, deli, fresh-made pizza spot, display cooking, salad and dessert bars, and much more."
With the portion of the gift designated to the building of the university's new entrance along Old US 31, plans will move ahead and enable construction to begin this summer. According to the project summary, the new entrance will help the campus "recapture its physical connection and visibility to the local community and provide a focal point for future campus development."
"The new entrance will greatly enhance the 'first impression' experience for visitors, and welcome the community to the 'New Andrews,'" stated Richard Scott, director of Facilities Management.
With a special place in his heart for farm life, the donor has designated funds for a new milking parlor for the Andrews Dairy. Andrews's current herd consists of over 800 cows, 606 of which are milking cows that produce 18.6 million pounds of milk per year. The new parlor will allow for more efficient milking operation; computerized data tracking; increased profitability due to increased milk production, reduction in milking time, reduced equipment maintenance, and improved milk quality. It will also increase cow comfort-level and provide a modern visitors' viewing area.
"Seven years ago this spring, the dairy began working on a plan to renew its facilities, which were built in 1967," explained Thomas Chittick, chair of the Agriculture Department. "Three new drive-thru barns have been built to house the milking herd and two state of the art calf barns were added last winter. The milking parlor, small for today's herd, was all that remained to complete the renewal process."
The gift also provides for two endowed chairs in the School of Business Administration and the Seminary. An endowed professorial chair assists the designated department by supporting the recipient's salary, research opportunities, administrative services, and other special projects as set in the endowment agreement. This funding comes from the annual income generated by the principal gift. Oftentimes, it is a privilege for a faculty member to be honored by holding the named chair.
"The School of Business Administration (SBA) is profoundly grateful for such generosity," stated Charles Tidwell, the SBA's interim dean. "Not only does this reaffirm the high regard that the SBA has as an important center for Adventist business education, but this gift will also enable us to attract and maintain the highly qualified faculty essential for future growth."
"The University is deeply grateful to the donor for their generous support of Andrews University," stated Scott. "Their gift is timely and very meaningful. It's exciting to be able to see our long and arduous planning come to fruition with the construction of these projects."
"This generous donation is an additional confirmation of individuals believing in the vision of Andrews University," stated Lawrence Schalk, vice president for financial administration. "At the donor's wish, and as is my delegated responsibility, I will see that these projects are completed in a timely manner."
"Andrews University is preparing to meet the educational challenges it faces in the 21st century, challenges of educational quality, values, diversity and a world perspective," stated Andrews University President Niels-Erik Andreasen. "As a national doctoral degree-granting university with unique international educational obligations, Andrews must develop its resources and facilities to meet these challenges. The Legacy of Leadership campaign is designed to accomplish that, and this latest major gift will give both the campaign and the university a significant push forward. We are deeply grateful for the support of these special Andrews friends and to God for His blessings."