Eastern Mennonite University mascot HeRM celebrates while a student makes a pledge during LovEMU Giving Day on Tuesday, April 4. The 24-hour event raised $106,500. (Photos by Andrew Strack)

EMU community shows the love, raises $106,500 during LovEMU Giving Day

The final gift of LovEMU Giving Day came in at 11:57 p.m. Tuesday evening, capping an exciting day of fundraising at Eastern Mennonite University.

For a first-time event, the participation was outstanding, said Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Jeff Shank.

A total of $106,500 was raised from 692 gifts, exceeding goals of $100,000 and 500 gifts.

With a format that encouraged competition and “showing the love” for a certain “beloved” academic or athletic program, competition for “votes” went late into the evening.

The winning academic department and athletic team, which each receive $500, were teacher education and the women’s volleyball team.

“This day was really more about love and community spirit than anything else,” said Shank. “I’ve been overwhelmed by the gratitude that everyone has for this place and how it’s impacted their life. People see a real and important value in the kind of education offered at EMU and they want to make sure it’s available now and in the future.”

Students were encouraged to participate by making a gift or reaching out to three contacts with a text or call to encourage donations; 214 undergraduate students participated, surpassing the goal of 100.

President Susan Schult Huxman, accompanied by HeRM and Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Jeff Shank visits Professor Judy Mullet’s psychology class with Strite’s donut holes.

Several anonymous generous donors, as well as President Susan Schultz Huxman, offered to match gifts if various goals were met by certain groups, including current and former board of trustee members (38 participated), faculty and staff (155 participated), parents and grandparents (109 participated). A special lunchtime challenge called for 30 gifts during the lunch hour to unlock a matching gift of $5,000; 110 people topped that challenge within the first half hour of the time period.

Love to EMU: Comments from donors

Donors were invited to share why they love EMU. Here’s a sampling of comments.

  •        I love the encouragement to seek a career that will shape the world we live in.
  •        Excellent academics mixed with exploring the spiritual implications of life learning and vocation.
  •         Providing our daughter with an environment where she can grow in Christ and in confidence.
  •        I appreciate the professors’ guidance at EMU. They challenged me in a gentle way, helping to nurture in me a reflective, critical, and compassionate worldview. I would not be who I am today without my Middle East cross-cultural experience and the interdisciplinary opportunities my professors nudged me to pursue.
  •        Being here always felt like coming home.
  •        Knowing that alumni like MJ Sharp were walking the talk and carrying out the mission of EMU in the real world, which is messy and painful —that makes me believe even deeper in the work of peacebuilding and being a global citizen.
  •        I love EMU because the people I work with feel like family.
  •        EMU changed my life and created a space where empathy and non-violence were strengths.
  •        Commitment to Anabaptist values: EMU teaches you to practice what you preach.

LovEMU Giving Day final numbers 2017

HeRM provided plenty of reasons to dance and jump for joy in the midday fundraising outside Northlawn.

Top five departments receiving votes

  1. Teacher education — 71 votes
  2. Nursing — 58
  3. Center for Justice and Peacebuilding — 56
  4. Biology and chemistry — 43
  5. Business and economics — 37

Top five athletic teams receiving votes

  1. Women’s volleyball — 93 votes
  2. Women’s soccer — 82
  3. Men’s basketball — 59
  4. Women’s basketball — 48
  5. Men’s soccer — 46