Kansas Wesleyan took another step into the future this past week, when it announced that it has raised more than $16 million in phase one of the Power of AND campaign. The campaign will be the largest comprehensive campaign in school history. The opening phase, which lasted 30 months, is now complete.
Many of the projects, including the $5 million Nursing Education Center, used local contractors and subcontractors, thereby bringing significant economic investment to the region.
“The efforts of the last two-and-a-half years have meant so much to the Coyote family,” said Dr. Matt Thompson, KWU President. “This work has allowed us to improve the student experience in numerous ways, to take our facilities and scholarships to another level and to position ourselves for the future. It has allowed us to employ our university mantra, the Power of AND, by having both a small university experience AND a mighty vision for the future. To put it another way, this work has allowed us to reimagine life at Kansas Wesleyan in new and exciting ways. It has done all of this while benefiting our students and the local community.”
“The first phase of this campaign changed the face of KWU,” said Ken Oliver, vice president of Advancement and university operations. “We touched virtually every aspect of university life, including academics, residence life, athletics, facilities and more! The name and brand of KWU grew exponentially during this time, thanks to enhanced marketing efforts, and we were able to launch several new, exciting scholarship opportunities that helped lower barriers to attendance. To accomplish all of this during a pandemic is amazing and is a testament to the loyalty of our alumni and friends. We are truly grateful to all the individuals who have given to KWU!”
In phase one, which began in June 2019, KWU greatly increased its overall number of scholarship opportunities, with a focus on Nursing, Fine Arts, Business and the sciences. Included in those new opportunities were the Central Kansas and Ad Astra scholarships, which focused on students from Kansas and, more specifically, certain counties in the central part of the state. Thanks to the support of the Vanier family, a third opportunity – the Saline County scholarship – helped KWU invest in students from its home county.
New faculty and staff positions were added as well. All these positives helped lead to two straight years of enrollment growth.
The university’s endowment grew to $43 million, its largest mark ever, and capital improvements included the Nursing Education Center, KWU’s first new, on-campus education facility in 50 years. The university also invested in other capital improvements, including $500,000 in residence hall renovations, new labs, remodeled classroom spaces and energy-saving initiatives throughout campus. The total capital improvement investment exceeded $10 million during this time.
Investments in on-campus opportunities grew during phase one as well. KWU launched The Howl of Kansas Wesleyan, its new athletic band, as well as a new sport: men’s volleyball. Funding for campus ministry programs also increased significantly, and KWU deepened its relationship with University United Methodist Church. The university also launched new partnerships with the Salina Family YMCA, USD 305, Salina Regional Airport and the Salina Country Club.
Successes continued on the court, with back to back KCAC Commissioner’s Cups, and off it, with Debate and DECA excelling on the national level. The university also improved its marketing efforts, as KWU leveraged partnerships with the Wichita Thunder, Rolling Hills Zoo, InTrust Bank Arena and multiple airports to increase brand awareness. KWU will also premiere a new commercial Dec. 24 that will air throughout the early months of 2022, including on Super Bowl Sunday.
Through it all, KWU continued to post a 98% three-year placement rate for recent graduates.
“We talk a lot about the Power of AND at Kansas Wesleyan,” said Dr. Thompson. “At its core, however, the Power of AND is a philosophy that emphasizes being well-rounded. It emphasizes the integration of all aspects of a college education, in order to grow the whole person. In much the same way, this campaign has touched the entirety of Kansas Wesleyan. From scholarships, to facilities, to the endowment, we expect to look back on the Power of AND campaign as another pivotal moment in KWU’s history.”