NORTH MANCHESTER, Indiana — Manchester University has exceeded a $100 million fundraising goal 18 months ahead of its deadline, and retiring President Jo Young Switzer is receiving much of the credit.
By Thursday, thousands of donations had brought the total to $108.4 million in the "Students First!" campaign launched in 2007, the largest in the northeastern Indiana's school's history.
"While this might not be a huge achievement for a college like Notre Dame or Purdue - compared to them, we are small - ... it was a testament to donors' dedication and belief in our mission and vision," Tim McElwee, vice president for university advancement, told The Journal Gazette (http://bit.ly/1iJWiHw).
Switzer was the stimulus who brought in so many donations, McElwee said.
"The alumni I talked to said that Jo Switzer was a leader who got things done, and they knew it would be agonizing for (Switzer) not to have this huge thing done when she retired," he said.
Switzer's last day as president of the nearly 1,400-student university, about 35 miles west of Fort Wayne, is Monday.
About $10 million arrived in the past month, much of it given to celebrate the leadership of Switzer, who has been the university's president for nearly 10 years.
The campaign included a $35 million gift from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment that created Manchester's School of Pharmacy in Fort Wayne, which opened two years ago.
It also included the largest alumni gift in school history, $5.1 million earlier this year from 94-year-old Herb Chinworth for a new administration building to be built over the next five years and named after Chinworth's parents, Lockie and Augustus Chinworth of Warsaw.
"It was a tremendous gift - a gift that allowed me to breathe again," Switzer said.
A recently built Academic Center was named in honor of former university Trustee Mike Jarvis of Franklin, a 1968 graduate, and his wife, Sandy, after they gave $5 million to the campaign.
Switzer said the campaign's success will have a ripple effect in northeastern Indiana
"The School of Pharmacy has had a huge economic impact on Fort Wayne and visibility in the region," she said.
The school created 40 to 45 well-paid jobs and is creating opportunities in Fort Wayne as students work in pharmacy- and medical-related businesses there, she said.
Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net