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Furman receives $5 million gift; majority will support University Center

Furman University’s $400 million Because Furman Matters fundraising campaign received a significant boost today when an alumnus pledged $5 million to the school, the largest outright commitment by an individual in the university’s history.

The majority of the gift—made by an alumnus who has requested anonymity—will support the renovation and expansion of the University Center, the hub of campus activities and student involvement on campus.  The designation for the remainder of the gift will be announced at a later date.

“This gift gives us great momentum in the concluding phase of our campaign, and signifies the tremendous support we enjoy among our alumni,” said president Rod Smolla. “A major emphasis of the Because Furman Matters campaign is to transform the undergraduate experience at the university, and this generous gift will help us accomplish this important goal by transforming the University Center from a campus crossroads to an energized campus destination.”

The re-design of the University Center is geared toward making the facility a more central part of student life.  The changes will include expanded spaces for student clubs and organizations, an expansion of the food court, and the addition of a nighttime student entertainment club.  Among the new design features will be a two-story glass atrium that will enclose the current courtyard, providing informal gathering space with open vistas to the lake and Bell Tower.

The campaign now stands at $337 million and is in its concluding phase, seeking to raise funds for four critical areas; (1) reinforcing academic excellence and increasing scholarship support; (2) transforming the overall student experience; (3) renewing excellence in intercollegiate athletics; and (4) uniting and collaborating with the community.

Because Furman Matters will conclude in 2013.

The campaign was launched in 2007 with $225 million in commitments in hand toward an historic $400 million goal.  It is the largest campaign ever by a private university in South Carolina, and one of the most ambitious by any of the nation’s liberal arts colleges.

Since 2007, the university has completed the Townes Center for Science and the Shi Center for Sustainability, and broken ground for the Herring Center for Lifelong Learning.  The campaign has also assisted 116 students with emergency hardship financial assistance, and raised $170 million in new scholarship funds.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107 or visit the new Because Furman Matters website.

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