LovEMU Giving Day on April 4 will help make Eastern Mennonite University available to all

LovEMU Giving Day on April 4 at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) will allow supporters to “show the love” with those who otherwise could not afford the quality academics and transformational opportunities of an EMU experience.

“Gifts to EMU are key to making the EMU experience accessible to all, including those from varied socio-economic, academic and culturally diverse backgrounds,” explains Kirk Shisler, vice president for advancement. “Now more than ever, this is key to EMU’s mission to prepare undergraduate, graduate and seminary students to serve and lead in a global context.”

Challenges and activities

Gifts of any size on this day – with close to $30,000 available in matching gifts by primarily anonymous donors – will support any fund the donor designates for undergraduate, graduate or seminary students. A variety of challenges and special activities are planned throughout the day.

  • President Susan Schultz Huxman will match every alumni gift of $10 or more with $10 of her own, up to $1,000, for the Huxman Challenge.
  • Additional challenges include current students (t-shirt incentives!), lunch-time special, faculty/staff, parents and grandparents, and current and former Board of Trustee members.
  • Kiosks across campus will provide on-the-spot opportunities for students to jump in with a spontaneous gift of any size. They might also text grandparents, uncles, aunts and others who are supportive of the EMU experience their loved one is having at EMU.
  • When making an online gift, donors will be invited to vote for an academic program or athletic team to highlight what they love(d) about EMU; the program earning the most votes will win $500 for their program/department use.
  • The EMU advancement team will gather in a central location to make calls, take calls and pledges, monitor the incoming gifts, answer questions and visit classes with donuts and other incentives. EMU’s mascot Herm will be along for the ride.

Why LovEMU Giving Day?

We LovEMU! (Photo by Andrew Strack)

“Alumni often say how much they ‘loved’ their EMU experience,” says Jeff Shank, director of alumni and parent engagement. “They mention friends, a professor, an athletic or cross-cultural experience.. LovEMU Giving Day invites people to remember what they love about EMU and share that love.”

The size of the gift does not matter. While all alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends are challenged to participate, Shank and other planners hope to particularly engage young alumni.

“Younger alumni have different giving patterns than previous generations,” says Shisler. “We want to challenge people to give from the heart, spontaneously, in the same way they do, for example, when touched by a KickStarter or other campaign for a specific cause.”

The cause, both Shisler and Shank note, is making EMU affordable so every student can become equipped for success in the job market or further academic pursuits, within the context of a supportive community.

Throughout the day, people can watch the website and social media for updates on amounts raised and challenges that still need a boost.

Who benefits?

“EMU’s financial aid is as generous as we can make it for both merit-based and need-based undergraduate student aid,” says Michele Hensley, financial aid director. The average financial assistance package for an undergraduate student in 2016-17 was $30,000. Over $12 million in aid was awarded by EMU in 2014-15.

Herm and friends LovEMU! (Photo by Andrew Strack)

“We work with each family, knowing that college study is a significant investment,” she said. “We believe EMU is a worthwhile investment and need more support to make it available to all who seek to be part of our community.”

Plan to Show the Love

Please plan to show your love for EMU on LovEMU Giving Day April 4 by giving a gift online, phoning in a pledge at (540) 432-4200 or (800) 368-3383, or emailing your intentions to

Share your love and Royal pride in the comments section now or on April 4 when you make your online contribution. Tell us what you loved, learned and remember from your EMU experience.