MACON – Mercer University President William D. Underwood used the opening night of Homecoming weekend to announce a $400 million capital campaign for the University.
"Aspire, The Campaign for Mercer University, seeks to provide financial resources that will empower Mercer, already emerging among the Southeast's elite private research universities, to become an international leader in applying its intellectual capital to better serve the needs of humankind," President Underwood told more than 1,000 alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends assembled in Cruz Plaza Friday night. "I am pleased to announce that we are already at $90 million in gifts and pledges towards the goal. By engaging our alumni and friends to join in this effort, the University will achieve a stronger endowment, enhance its facilities, and expand its capacity to teach, to learn, to create, to discover, to inspire, to empower and to serve."
Aspire is a nod to the aspirations for a better world that make up the University's mission statement and also to the most prominent symbol of the University's presence in Macon since 1871 – the spires of the R. Kirby Godsey Administration Building, Willingham Auditorium and Newton Chapel.
Among the goals of the campaign, which was authorized by the Board of Trustees, are a $15 million medical education facility in Savannah, for which a groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier this month; a $25 million undergraduate sciences facility in Macon; a $20 million pharmacy building in Atlanta; a $3 million baseball stadium on the Macon campus; additional endowment for faculty positions, academic programs and student scholarships; funding for programs and initiatives such as Mercer On Mission; and additional support throughout the University's 12 schools and colleges, Mercer University Press, the University libraries, athletic department and other administrative units.
Approximately $207 million of the campaign goal is earmarked for endowment. Capital projects make up more than $109 million of the goal. The remaining $84 million is for operations.
The campaign's steering committee includes alumnus and former President's Club President Eli Morgan of Forsyth, as well as current Board of Trustees members Curt Anderson of Savannah; Babs Baugh of San Antonio, Texas; Ashley Copelan of Macon; Milton Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Benjy Griffith of Macon; Holly McCorkle Jones of Jacksonville, Florida; Curtis Lewis of Savannah; Tommy Malone of Atlanta; Carolyn McAfee of Macon; William A. (Tony) Moye of McDonough; Diane Owens of Lilburn; Richard A. (Doc) Schneider of Atlanta; and J. Daniel Speight Jr. of Pinehurst.
For more information on Aspire, including a full listing of the campaign's goals, visit http://aspire.mercer.edu.