Gift Income Sets New Record for University

Kirk L. ShislerKirk L. Shisler

Eastern Mennonite University has received $5,151,962 in total contributions for the 2004-2005 fiscal year ending June 30, a 4.5 percent increase, or $226,000 more than last year.

Kirk L. Shisler, vice president for advancement, reported that contributions of $1,484,655 to the University Fund set a new record, slightly surpassing the 2004 annual fund total of $1,480,491.

Support for EMU’s undergraduate and graduate programs included endowment giving of $631,949 and bequests and restricted grants of $3,035,358, Shisler noted. The largest restricted grant of $626,000 was received from Church World Service in support of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, now in its 11th year of operation. A grant of $125,000 from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield was awarded to support the Lisa Haverstick Nursing Laboratory, named for a 1991 EMU nursing graduate from Lancaster, Pa., who died in 2003.

Giving by EMU alumni continued to increase both in total giving – $1,993,603 compared to $1,928,366 in 2004 – and in the number of donors at the $1,000-plus level. Two hundred seven alumni contributed $1,000 or more in 2005 compared with 194 who gave at that level in 2004, Shisler said.

Included in the giving totals are gifts from 184 EMU faculty and staff who supported the university with contributions of more than $128,000.

"We are extremely grateful to our alumni, friends, faculty/staff, and special partners whose generous contributions resulted in another record year of annual support for EMU," said Loren E. Swartzendruber, EMU president. "EMU benefits from an especially loyal group of donors whose passion for EMU and its mission is consistently reflected in generous giving to both undergraduate and graduate programs of the university."

According to Swartzendruber, the strong year in donations also bodes well for EMU’s future given significant staff changes that have occurred within the advancement division in recent months.

"We are pleased that Kirk Shisler has assumed the post of vice president for advancement as of April 1, and that we will continue to benefit from the excellent service of Phillip Helmuth as executive director of development," Swartzendruber said. Helmuth served as interim vice president of advancement the past year.

Shisler graduated from EMU in 1981 and spent more than 20 years in fund development leadership positions at Syracuse, N.Y-based ProLiteracy Worldwide prior to being recruited to his alma mater.

"I am excited to re-connect with EMU in this role and to be part of a very strong team in advancing EMU’s mission," Shisler said. "We have some compelling opportunities to move EMU forward in fulfilling its charter to prepare students to serve the global community as teachers, peacebuilders, pastors, medical professionals, business leaders, and in many other roles," he added.