The president of Bethany College recently outlined ambitious plans to raise $24 million for the school’s endowment by 2014 and more than double the school’s enrollment in the next 20 years.


The president of Bethany College recently outlined ambitious plans to raise $24 million for the school’s endowment by 2014 and more than double the school’s enrollment in the next 20 years.
During a celebration of the 130th anniversary of Bethany College on Oct. 7, President Edward F. Leonard III announced Bethany’s 20-year strategic vision and first comprehensive campaign, Engage the Future.
The campaign’s stretch goal is to raise $25 million by the end of 2014 in this first campaign and begin to transform Bethany for its 150th anniversary in 2031.
The announcement was made at the third setting of the Lindsborg Svensk Hyllningsfest smorgasbord, which was reserved for Bethany’s guests of alumni and friends, Lindsborg residents and faculty and staff of the college.
The audience applauded as Leonard announced the gains Bethany has made in the past four years, including an increase in enrollment of almost 18 percent, an increase of 11 percent in freshman-to-sophomore retention, and an operating budget that will balance without funds from the endowment. “But I am not here to declare victory, though we have done the difficult,” Leonard said. “Quite to the contrary, I stand here to ask, what’s next? What’s the path forward?”
Bethany College began defining the path forward in 2009 when President Leonard established two campus-wide work groups called “Righting Our Economic Model” and “Imagineering the Bethany College of the 21st Century.”
Bethany was charged with restructuring its economic model to achieve long-term financial stability, as demonstrated by balancing the budget, limiting the endowment usage, and not deferring facilities maintenance, which create hidden liabilities. The actions taken have begun paying off, as shown by the balanced budget projection for this year.
The second work group formed was the Imagineering effort to envision Bethany for the 21st century. The group focused on value innovation. The result is a plan to become a leader in the marketplace through an exceptional student experience of seamless curricular and co-curricular experiences.
To make this Imagineered Bethany a reality, Bethany has launched the $25 million comprehensive campaign. This campaign, the largest one ever for the college, will end in 2014 as the first in a series of campaigns. The funding will improve brick-and-mortar facilities, the endowment, and current operations so Bethany can achieve its performance goals. By 2031, Bethany will:
• Enroll 1,500 students from 50 states and 50 countries with 25 percent of students being international,
• Retain 84 percent of students from the freshman to sophomore year,
• Receive financial support from 30 percent of alumni,
• Increase the endowment to $100 million,
• Enhancing the campus, facilities, and technology so they are accessible and state-of-practice,
• Embrace equity and equality throughout the college, and
• Partner with the City of Lindsborg to become a national model of best practices.
More than half of the $25 million goal already has  been raised.
“This campaign actually began when our renaissance began more than four years ago, and we’ve been successful in securing many gifts and pledges toward our goal,” Leonard said. “I am pleased to share that gifts and pledges received by the college as of today total almost $13.1 million.”
Leonard ended by asking, “This vision and first campaign most certainly represent a defining moment in our history. They also most certainly represent a clarion call to the many who love Bethany to respond to the ancient Hebrew call to action, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’”