Emporia State University announced the public phase of a $50 million fundraising campaign focused on student advancement, Friday afternoon.
The "Together, Forward" campaign, which has already raised $42 million to date, has "three pillars" that President Allison Garrett says are crucial to the success of the university and its students.
"This campaign has three pillars, really three things that we believe are crucial for the future of Emporia State University," she said. "The first is continuing our efforts to invest in high-impact learning. That is something that is so incredibly important to the students here at Emporia State."
High-impact learning experiences offer immersive and engaging learning opportunities. That, Garrett said, "makes a real difference in the caliber of the experience that every student gets."
"You all know that ESU already provides a terrific experience for our students here at the university," she said, "but we're excited about the opportunity to invest in other kinds of experiences."
That's why, according to Provost David Cordle, Priority One in the fundraising campaign is focused on providing "real-world experiences" for students.
Cordle said, when students have the opportunity to engage in high-impact learning, they gain more than just a technical understanding of the information.
"This kind of applied learning makes the light come on for students," he said. "This is where it gets real for them, by working side by side with a faculty or staff mentor or with a supervisor in a workplace. Students learn how professionals do science or history or artistic work or business, and at the same time, they learn critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, team building skills. These are the skills that apply to any kind of working skills that they're going to be using for the rest of their lives."
This then, makes them more marketable to employers once they graduate.
Priority Two is attracting the "best and brightest" students to Emporia State into both arts and athletics programs.
Garin Higgins, the Hornets' head football coach and an ESU alum, said it's more than just about recruiting athletes that can win championships. While he likes to win games and likes to win titles, he also likes to see students become successful off the field.
"It's not about recruiting the most talented players on film, it's about recruiting the most talented players that fit in here and that will become successful," Higgins said.
The Together, Forward campaign will allow the university to provide competitive talent-based scholarships to those individuals, Higgins said. That means, the university can recruit students who are gifted in athletes or musicians, artists, actors and inspire others in their chosen fields.
Priority Three aims to seize every opportunity. Unrestricted support is a priority investment in Emporia State University. It allows the university to function more like a private sector business, responding to opportunities and allocating resources in real time. With support from the Together, Forward Fund, leadership can seize opportunities for students to practice skills, exhibit knowledge, stretch understanding and grow capabilities.
"This campaign is an exciting opportunity to continue building on our strong foundation of supporting student success," Garrett said. "We want to help every student aim higher, do more and become part of the great legacy of Emporia State Hornets. As we look together, forward to the future, we are looking toward greatness."
Garrett said the university hopes to reach its $50 million fundraising goal by Oct. 2021.
To learn more about the Together, Forward campaign or to make a gift, visit emporia.edu/togetherforward.