Dear Berea Alumni and Friends,
I am pleased to present the 2017-18 President’s Report on Philanthropy and commend it for your review. This report details our strong financial position and conveys information pertaining to our sources of fiscal support. Our financial position remains strong thanks to sound management of our endowment and the continued support of friends, alumni and even current students through various giving programs.
The story of Berea College is one filled with heroics. There is the inspiration of radical abolitionists preaching a message of equality at great peril to themselves. We know, too, how the College today removes financial barriers to a top-tier education for deserving students of limited means. But not enough is said about the nearly 10,000 people who enable Berea College to continue its mission in the 21st century through financial support. Truly, each and every donor—regardless of the amount he or she is able to give—is a modern-day Berea hero. Together, our donors supplied more than $4.5 million toward the Tuition Promise Scholarship every Berea student receives and continue to help us build the endowment that enables us to replace the costs of tuition. Our Berea heroes pull through for us year after year.
This issue highlights the stories of some of our donors and why they are inspired to support Berea College. There are surprising histories, life-long connections, family ties and romances, but the overarching theme of their devotion has to do with what Berea is most famous for: giving smart, ambitious and dedicated students their only chance to succeed and to thrive. Included with their stories is our annual Honor Roll, a full accounting of those whose faithful devotion makes Berea College possible.
These contributions have tangible impacts. In August, after two years of construction, we opened classes in the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, a milestone made possible by our supporters. That same month, Giving Day—our annual online giving drive—pulled in more than $500,000 from 1,200 donors. Last year, the students themselves contributed nearly $30,000 through the Berea Patrons program. It really is amazing what can happen when people come together.
All these contributions supported a banner year for Berea College. We were again ranked the No. 1 liberal arts college in the nation by Washington Monthly; Berea College topped Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s list of college with the lowest average graduating debt; the Wall Street Journal /Times Higher Education named us the best value institution in the U.S.; and the Princeton Review placed Berea among the top 7 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges in Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.
Add to that another Thomas J. Watson Fellowship winner, six Gilman Scholars, a distinguished professor in residence (bell hooks) being inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, and alumnus Jack Roush being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame—I think one has to marvel at the level of success Berea has seen in the past year.
None of it is possible without you. Thank you for your steadfast generosity and your shared belief that Berea students are worth more than the tuition they can afford. You are truly the foundation upon which we build our success.
Lyle D. Roelofs