Wittenberg University, buoyed by a record-setting Commit to Witt Day of Giving, with donations of more than $560,000, has officially launched the public portion of its largest fundraising campaign ever.
“We are humbled and gratified – but not surprised – by this outpouring of support for Wittenberg,” said President Michael L. Frandsen. “Much work remains to be done, and we need support from all corners of our Tiger Nation. But it’s clear that even as we continue to deal with this pandemic health crisis, Wittenberg is in a stronger position – financially and academically – than has been the case in some time.”
Frandsen said the $100-million comprehensive “Having Light: The Campaign for Wittenberg University” is a critical element “to ensuring that the Wittenberg torch, which has shone brightly since 1845, remains lit for generations to come.”
To date, $76 million has already been raised toward that $100-million goal. And Frandsen cited other critical areas of progress:
- The March 11 Commit To Witt Day, marking the end of the University’s celebration of its 175th anniversary, set a one-day fundraising record, with average gift sizes increasing and donations from alumni in all 50 states.
- Earlier in March, the University paid off $23.79 million in loans taken out in 2018 to renovate the Health, Wellness, and Athletics (HWA) Complex. Frandsen said the debt was retired through a combination of paid pledges to the HWA project, repositioning previous gifts, and raising new money. “While retiring this large amount of debt and saving millions of dollars in interest represents a huge, positive step forward, we must further improve our operating results and restructure and reduce our long-term liabilities,” Frandsen said. “That work continues.”
- Student enrollment, even amid the challenges of the pandemic, also is improving with applications and admitted students up from past years. “We believe the fall 2021 cohort will increase by 10% to 15% – on top of a 10% gain for 2020 over 2019,” Frandsen said.
Frandsen added that Wittenberg is moving forward with plans for an in-person Commencement on May 15.