The University of Lynchburg’s planned giving efforts have resulted in estate plans that will eventually add millions of dollars to the institution’s endowment, University officials announced today.
In October, Dr. Mike Bonnette, senior vice president for advancement, received a letter from an attorney confirming estate plans by one couple to give the University several million dollars. The couple, who wished to remain anonymous, directed the gift to the University’s unrestricted endowment.
“The attorney specifically mentioned that this couple wanted to express their confidence in the University’s direction and motivate others to provide support in whatever way they can,” Dr. Bonnette said.
“Gifts like this can be transformative, not only because of the generous financial support they provide, but also because of the giving they inspire from others. Estate gifts and annual gifts, both large and small, combine to have a powerful impact on students’ lives.”
Another anonymous supporter, who graduated in the 1980s, recently confirmed a gift of $1 million for the unrestricted endowment in her estate plans in honor of Dr. Kenneth R. Garren, who has served as University president since 2001.
The University also is receiving a planned gift from the estate of Rebecca Peebles Bowen and Dr. Robert Richardson Bowen, two Lynchburg-area philanthropists. Rebecca Bowen passed away September 23, 2018. Her husband, a World War II veteran who attended Lynchburg College from 1946 to 1947, died in 2013.
The Bowens’ estate gift will provide more than $1 million to the University of Lynchburg School of Nursing. Dr. Bonnette recently met with the Bowens’ estate attorney to discuss details.
“We are incredibly grateful that the Bowens would support the University and our nursing program in this way,” Dr. Bonnette said. “We will work with the School of Nursing and the Bowen family to find ways to honor this couple, who left a remarkable impact on the University of Lynchburg and the surrounding community.”
This announcement comes on the heels of another major gift. In October, the University announced a gift of cash and land totaling $1 million from Liberty University honoring LU founder Jerry Falwell Sr., who studied at Lynchburg College before graduating from a Bible college.
Dr. Garren hailed the recent gifts as markers of the institution’s momentum. “We recently reached a record-high level of enrollment, even while outpacing the nation in engaged learning,” he said. “I thank all of our supporters who have seen this trajectory, recognized its value to students, and made these gifts that will help us improve the student experience even more.”
Over the past two years, the University’s Office of Advancement has been reorganizing and focusing on developing relationships with more alumni and friends, while also promoting alumni engagement through events and through career networking with students.
Developing a culture of philanthropy is one of the chief goals of Vision 2020, a strategic plan focused on student engagement.
“It’s an honor to meet friends of the University who treasure what this community has done in their lives,” Dr. Bonnette said. “In Vision 2020, we set ambitious goals for supporting the student experience, especially in facilities for sciences and athletics.
“The involvement of our alumni and friends is vital to fulfilling this vision and creating a new, improved experience that matches the strength of our academics and championship athletics. Dr. Garren and I look forward to meeting more members of our broader community and telling them about our direction as a University.”
For more information on Vision 2020 and the progress toward its goals, visit vision2020.lynchburg.edu.