As we celebrate our 125th year, it is a great time to be a Bruin!
We greeted more than 750 new students at Welcome Weekend this year, and we will surpass 2,400 students in the undergraduate program for the first time in our history. In addition, we just opened our new Canyon Commons dining facility that accommodates our growing student body and overlooks beautiful Hess Creek; our engineers just opened new classrooms and a collaborative design space in the Klages Center (formerly the Student Union Building); and the George Fox baseball team now has an artificial grass field.
The 2016-17 academic year also represents the concentrated final phase of an eight-year fundraising campaign, “The Promise Campaign.” We’ve made substantial progress and to date have raised more than $35 million toward several essential projects that will enhance student success at George Fox.
Much has changed since the founding of the institution, but our Be Known promise has remained consistent. Everything we do at George Fox revolves around loving Christ and our students – and ensuring that they have the best possible educational experience, truly growing from the inside out. There is a quote from C.S. Lewis in his famous sermon, “The Weight of Glory,” that seems particularly germane to our promise and what the campaign is about – knowing each soul.
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”
We see the fruition of the George Fox promise in students’ lives every day, students like Quincy Woo, who graduated last year and said, “I was able to flourish at George Fox in such a supportive and nurturing community. The experience has allowed me to realize the potential in myself and in others.”
In our 125th anniversary year, our staff is hard at work engaging with donors to meet the financial goals of the university for the foreseeable future. To date, the campaign has allowed us to accomplish greatly needed campus projects, such as:
- The physical therapy wing within the Arthur and Fern Roberts Center
- The Duke Athletic Center and Stoffer Family Stadium for our student-athletes
- The Austin Sports Complex, and
- The Hy Vista Retreat Center
But there is still more to be done in this final year. At a time when many institutions face stagnant or declining admissions, enrollment at George Fox has grown exponentially – 254 percent since 1990. To accommodate this growth, the last major capital project of the campaign is a new Student Activity Center. This building would give our students ample space to gather, participate in leadership events, and be active.
Student club participation has doubled since 2012, so having a big enough space for student government and clubs to meet is paramount. Likewise, students who are not on sports teams often have trouble finding space in Wheeler Sports Center for intramurals and exercise. The activity center would solve problems like these. Our current plans for the center include new basketball/volleyball courts, dedicated student leadership and club space, a fitness center, a rock-climbing wall, a yoga and dance studio, and a student lounge. It would be a beautiful campus addition if we can garner the needed donor support. That is my top priority.
We have other important projects we want to complete as well, including engineering equipment for the new Engineering Innovation Center (recently remodeled from the Klages Dining Hall) and continued renovations of the baseball and softball facilities. We also wish to bolster the Student Fund and endowment. Since the Promise Campaign began in 2009, we have raised $36.6 million toward priority programs, scholarships and projects. This year, we aim to raise the last $10.2 million we need.
Please reference the Promise Campaign Case Statement for more details about our current needs and plans. I hope you will consider being a part of the Be Known promise for future generations of students.
George Fox University President