During a special homecoming convocation on Oct. 4, President D. Michael Lindsay took center stage and announced the Faith Rising campaign and its goal of raising $130 million for the endowment of Gordon College. The campaign launches with a leading donation of $75.5 million, gifted by the same anonymous donor who gave $25 million to the college in 2017.
“The anonymous donor would want you to know that this is an investment in the entire community,” said Lindsay. “It’s an investment in all of us, because it wants to try and help make a Gordon education more affordable for more students.”
Faith Rising is to be a five-year long campaign, with an express goal to meet the changing needs of college students in community, affordability, and academics. Though the campaign’s publicity is recent, Faith Rising has quietly been in the works for three years.
According to a new press release, “The completion of Faith Rising over the next two years will allow Gordon to diversify its revenue portfolio to overcome the challenges in the changing ecosystem of higher education, specifically those related to private colleges.”
The leading donation has already allowed Gordon to increase its total student financial aid by 15% for students arriving in the fall of 2020. For these students, every tier of merit scholarships will receive an increase of between 11% and 33%. The donor’s gift is also intended to further fund Gordon’s now two-year-old premier honors program, The Global Honors Institute.
With the goal of $130 million in mind, the Faith Rising campaign has three prioritized aims: financial stability, strengthening teaching and scholarship, and building Christian community.
A dramatic increase in need-based and merit-based scholarships is expected upon the completion of the campaign.“Gordon does not want the cost of its education to be a deterrent for qualified students who desire the unique and valuable education Gordon provides,” the press release said.
The Gordon College Fund serves as “the lifeblood of the institution,” attending to Gordon’s operational needs where its tuition revenue is limited. The fund is essential in tempering the cost of education for students, so that a quality Christian education is within reach of deserving students. In order for the fund to sustain Gordon, it depends on the donation of planned gifts, which will be solicited over the next two years of the campaign.
Teaching and scholarship will be enriched with increased opportunities for students to connect their learning to real-world applications. The Scripture Translation Project with Wycliffe Bible Translators, provides opportunities for students across several disciplines including research, marketing, and programming. GoCo Labs will continue to serve as an extracurricular opportunity for computer science students to interact with and solve problems on campus. The Academic Success Center will be able to further develop multiple learning pathways for students of every circumstance.
Gordon plans to provide accelerated postgraduate programs that are streamlined to their undergraduate education, so that students can complete two degrees in a more timely manner to accrue less debt and start students’ careers as soon as possible.
Academics will be further cultivated by allowing faculty members to pursue their research and develop their professional skills. To develop cross-cultural understanding, faculty will be afforded global experiences that will help better connect them to students from diverse populations.
All of these academic and teaching goals will be supported by implementation of advanced technologies, including upgrades in the networks, tools, and platforms that connect and inform students, faculty, and staff. The college anticipates upgrades in security and training to not only ensure the safety of Gordon’s community, but ensure its ease of use and accessibility in the hopes of setting up better online and hybrid courses.
Continuing with the ethos of intersection between spiritual character and vocation, Gordon will connect students with future job placements through the Career and Connection Institute (CCI). With a combination of advising, career services, student employment, and entrepreneurial leadership, the CCI will provide “faith-based understanding of calling and vocation, anchored life skills in listening and public presentation, mentoring both in the classroom and through industry professionals, and internships and introductions to professionals and the larger Gordon friends and alumni network.”
The La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership will experience an expansion of staffing, programming and infrastructure. Programs will undergo further augmentation in rock climbing, backpacking and canoeing expeditions, and custom challenge courses.
Gordon College’s residence halls will receive renovations and new community spaces to meet the needs of this generation of students as well as future generations. Athletic facilities will be upgraded as well, along with increased training and resources for coaches and trainers. Athletes will be provided with opportunities to further develop their leadership and character.
These funding priorities were identified in 2016 with the help of five working groups composed of 72 faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the board of trustees. The list of priorities was developed over a two month period, and were recommended to the board, who then developed and adopted a Campaign Case Statement in 2017.
The Faith Rising campaign is currently being overseen by Gordon’s board of trustees and a specialized leadership committee led by the former global retail executive Mike Ullman, presiding as the Chair of the Faith Rising campaign. The leadership committee is comprised of six alumni and other friends of Gordon College who provide their guidance for the campaign.
“There are so many people to thank; first and foremost to thank God,” said President Lindsay. “This is a miracle for the institution. Today is history in the making, and we give thanks to God for his amazing provision.”