A Message from the President

Lyle D. RoelofsLeave a Comment

President Lyle Roelofs and First Lady Laurie Roelofs with two students

Dear Berea Alumni and Friends,

I am pleased to present the 2018-19 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. This report also includes some stories of persons whose generosity has enabled Berea College to sustain its mission of transformative impact in the lives of so many.

Our beloved institution received a long list of national accolades over the past year. For a fourth straight year, Washington Monthly named Berea College one of the nation’s top liberal arts schools. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recognized Berea students as carrying the lowest average debt at graduation. Berea appeared in three Princeton Review publications this year, the Best 385 Colleges, the Best Value Colleges, and Colleges that Pay You Back. If these weren’t enough, in addition to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs naming Berea College as a top-producing institution of Gilman Scholars, the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education recently ranked us the No. 1 best-value college in the country.

This fall we celebrated one year of using the new Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health building (MAC), our state-of-the-art facility made possible by the generosity of our beloved Berea community of donors. NASA astronaut Mae Jemison spoke at the dedication, and last spring we established a display of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Dr. John Fenn ’37, with his family in attendance. Most recently, the U.S. Green Building Council verified MAC as having achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification while the Forest Stewardship Council awarded it the Full Project Certification, which recognizes ecologically responsible wood construction.

We are grateful for such praise and recognition, but what is truly amazing is that this long list of achievements is not nearly all we do at Berea College. Over the life of this college, we have endeavored not just to provide a simply adequate experience, or an education considered merely on par with other schools, but to aspire to excellence in all we do in service to more than 1,600 students who otherwise would not be able to afford college. We give them our best, and they return the favor year after year. This school’s consistent devotion to excellence is what makes me most proud.

And you, dear friends, are the ones who make that happen. Together, you rose to meet last year’s Berea Fund goal of $4.7 million. I am confident that we can count on you this year to meet a goal of $4.825 million, or the amount necessary to cover the tuition gap for our students. You’ll be joining more than 1,000 students who have already begun their philanthropic lives by supporting their alma mater before they even graduate.

My great thanks to them and to you, who make this truly singular institution a reality.

Lyle D. Roelofs
President

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