Community has always been key to the growth and progress of Kansas Wesleyan, dating back to shortly before the university’s founding. Then, 95 acres of land was gifted to support Salina’s efforts to attract the university that would become KWU. The 1920s construction of Pioneer Hall is another example, as a $50,000 campaign by local business leaders allowed the project to continue.
Today is no different, as the university announced Wednesday that recent gifts have propelled it through the second phase of The Power of AND Campaign, the largest capital campaign in the university’s history.
The campaign has now raised more than $28 million in the past 40 months, including more than $12 million in phase two.
“Kansas Wesleyan is on a great trajectory,” said Dr. Matt Thompson, KWU president. “For more than 136 years, KWU and Salina have had a mutually beneficial relationship. The community supports the university, and we have given back to our communities through education, leadership, community service work and alumni settling in the region. Our recent successes, including our 20% growth in enrollment since 2019, are a testament to the power of this approach. This campaign’s success begins our positioning to give back more often, and in more significant ways. Helped by our alumni, friends and supporters, we are ready to step into the future and embrace the next chapter in KWU’s storied history. We are grateful to all who have empowered us to take these steps.”
The centerpiece of the campaign’s second phase was music, including the renovation of Sams Chapel and creation of a new entrance and lobby for that facility. The university announced in December that it had completed the campaign that would precede the renovation. While a formal groundbreaking date has not been announced, work to move departmental materials and offices is nearly complete.
Phase two also included the announcement of Coyote Village, the university’s new student housing, and the Bieber Dining Hall (bon appétit!). The main floor of Memorial Library underwent an extensive renovation, which included new carpet, furniture and signage.
Phase one, which wrapped up this past spring, included construction of the Nursing Education Center and significant scholarship increases. KWU, in fact, has increased the number of its endowed scholarships by roughly 22% since 2019.
The opening phase of the campaign also included endowment monies, support for campus ministry, backing for improvements at baseball and softball facilities, additional faculty and staff positions, and renovations of multiple science labs and other academic areas.
At this time, current fundraising initiatives — those highlighted in phase two — will continue as the university prepares for a third phase of the comprehensive campaign.
“Community is a critical part of the Kansas Wesleyan experience,” said Ken Oliver, executive vice president for advancement and university operations. “Whether it is the faculty, staff and students that make up our internal community, our alumni or the greater Salina area, we rely on our communities, much as they rely on us. It is only through the support of those communities that we have been able to execute this campaign. The initiatives they have embraced will move our university into the future boldly, advance programs that will help shape our region for the better, and help KWU continue to empower students to live out grace, truth and knowledge within their own communities.”