The Ferrum College Centennial Campaign
From a beginning forged in faith to a future buoyed by progress and aspiration, Ferrum College is unique among similar-sized institutions of higher education. During our evolutionary journey from a training school founded in 1913 to serve underprivileged children in the Blue Ridge Mountains to a four-year, primarily residential liberal arts college, Ferrum has been a leader in educational and regional transformation.
Boasting one of the oldest environmental programs in the United States, Ferrum’s Smith Mountain Lake Water Quality Monitoring Program and our model farm-to-table food service are just two of the many ways in which we have stayed at the forefront of conservation and sustainability. The arts and culture provided through our gallery collections and the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum are nationally renowned. Our creative and innovative partnerships with businesses and churches within the region and the country create optimism for the future through numerous economic and service opportunities.
For the last century we have been committed to accessibility and to the development of students, both in openness to a wide range of intellectual discovery and in the physical, spiritual, and social aspects of life.
We hold our heritage dear as we explore new horizons and seek to create our future.
We approach the future from a vantage point of institutional strength and momentum. This strength is sustained by sound fiscal policies supported by steadily rising enrollment, an engaged Board of Trustees, loyal alumni and friends, our picturesque campus in historic Virginia, and faculty and administrators who encourage the use of progressive educational ideas and technologies.
Progress is a way of life for Ferrum. In the last 10 years alone:
- Total undergraduate enrollment has increased by more than 50 percent.
- Applications for admission have surged by nearly 130 percent.
- New student enrollment has risen more than 75 percent.
- The number of residential students has grown over 100 percent.
Because Ferrum has long been distinguished by its theory-to-practice, hands-on, experiential approach to learning, the creation of real and relevant opportunities has long defined the Ferrum College experience. Our challenge as educators is to provide the programs, environment, and experiential opportunities that are traditional in scope yet relevant to our graduates. Continuing and exponential leaps in the growth of knowledge and information require us to be constantly in step with the global community.
Dedicated faculty who are prepared to meet the challenges in the classroom will be successful in teaching in this universal arena. Faculty must be enabled and continually renewed through the latest technology and through effective teaching methods and opportunities.
At the same time, because access has always been and continues to be central to our mission, we must ensure that all who aspire to a Ferrum College education have the opportunity to achieve that goal. For the last century, we have been dedicated to providing students of promise with the education they warrant. More than 60 percent of Ferrum students are Pell Grant recipients. The high cost of a college education has concerned parents and administrators for years, yet Ferrum has maintained tuition consistent with and in many cases below that of comparable private colleges. This is due in part to our resourcefulness in helping to support young scholars with financial aid. For deserving students we will strive to the best of our ability to continue to provide opportunity, access, sound academic standards, and the tools to meet the challenges of an ever-changing society.
Our duty is to create and secure the future and to perpetuate the tradition of scholarship and achievement that is Ferrum’s history. The “Ferrum Way” is focused on mind, body, and spirit, which translates to academic excellence, involvement in athletics and wellness, and exposure to ethical problem solving and civic engagement.
While grounded in tradition, we always look forward, creating optimism for a bright future for our students, the region, and the country.
To grow and sustain current momentum and to maintain the Ferrum College legacy of strength, we will embrace our challenges and be prepared for the ever-changing higher education and economic landscape. The Centennial Campaign will:
- Meet the financial requirements of identified priorities, especially innovative and advanced academic programs and capital improvements, which are paramount for success
- Enhance Ferrum College’s reputation through strengthened academic programs and heightened promotion
- Increase participation and foster new patronage, ensuring the next generation of leaders for the College
Historically, Ferrum College has had a deep and abiding commitment to the overarching imperative of student learning and success. Ferrum’s covenant with its students has at its genesis the College’s mission; the College’s motto—“Not Self, But Others”—further anchors and defines the values implicit and explicit in our College community. We are focused on academics. Our priorities for the future must always be aligned with our student learning framework and the values implicit and explicit in our College community. The time has come to ensure our continued success for the next century.
- Funds in Support of Academic Programs $1,500,000 – Each of our three academic schools (School of Arts and Humanities, School of Natural Sciences and Math, and School of Social Sciences and Professional Studies) rise from long-standing strengths and commitments: a liberal arts education of the whole student, in openness to a wide range of intellectual discovery along with the physical and spiritual aspects of life; devotion to sustainable social and environmental practices and development; the ethic of giving back to others through civic engagement; and the commitment to a broad, open worldview through global learning. The curricula provide intense learning structures that incorporate content and concepts gleaned to explore real-world challenges and integrate them into each program of study.
- Funds in Support of Teaching – $3,900,000 – We must support outstanding, professionally engaged teacher-scholars. Their excellence in the classroom can provide a model to the campus community, and their scholarly contributions enhance the reputation of Ferrum College and expand opportunities for students. Projects include Center for Sustainable Development, Endowed Professorships, Endowed Chaplaincy, Endowed Faculty Scholar, and Teaching Excellence Awards.
- Funds in Support of Capital Projects – $7,725,000 – The 700-acre Ferrum College campus is one of our proudest assets. First-time visitors are awed by the blend of natural beauty and academic structures. The proud stewardship of our facilities reflects our desire to preserve and extend them for future generations. Projects include Laboratories/Renovation of Laboratories, English Biomass Research Complex, Improved Classrooms, Stanley Library, Schoolfield Hall & Sale Theatre, Norton-Tolley Press Box, and the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum.
- Funds for Endowed Scholarships – $5,000,000 – Endowed scholarships enable donors to create positive opportunities for future generations of students. With Ferrum’s roots in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, students of limited means have long been a part of our character. Our ability to ensure access to a Ferrum College education is determined by our ability to provide financial aid to these deserving students. Students are our heart and our purpose. A gift to scholarship endowment will enable the College to continue to provide access for first-generation college students, minority students, and others who may not otherwise be able to obtain a Ferrum education.
- Unrestricted Endowment – $5,000,000 – General revenue in support of Ferrum College includes unrestricted major gifts to augment student financial aid and to maintain the academic programs and capital investments of the institution. Endowed funds are invested to generate annual income in perpetuity for the purpose specified by the donors. Only a portion of the annual return generated by each endowed fund is spent, so that the principal continues to grow. Endowed funds forever connect the name of the donors—or someone the donors wish to honor—with the College as well as with the cause they care about.
- The Ferrum Fund – $1,875,000 – $375,000 annually for five years – Gifts generated for the annual Ferrum Fund ensure fiscal stability and enable the College to meet unanticipated needs and to seize unexpected opportunities. When annual contributions are given as unrestricted gifts, Ferrum immediately uses them where they are needed most, allowing us to plan more confidently, minimize increases in tuition and fees, and put dollars to work immediately for faculty and students.
“ I am deeply grateful to Ferrum College for educating and touching many lives during these past 100 years. One of the most important investments is investing in people, especially in educating young people. I congratulate your bold move to build up a strong financial foundation for your future. May the Lord bless and guide this important campaign.”
—Bishop Young Jin Cho Resident Bishop, Virginia Conference The United Methodist Church