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Surpassing $10 Million Goal, College Looks Toward Future

Surpassing $10 Million Goal, College Looks Toward Future


January 25, 2012

Lyndon State College capped off its centennial year in December, 2011 with the successful completion of an ambitious fund-raising campaign. The six-year long Second Century Campaign surpassed its goal of $10 million, reaching a total of $10.45 million. The campaign commemorates the college’s first hundred years as it looks forward to the next hundred.

The objective of the campaign was three-pronged according to Bob Whittaker, Lyndon’s dean of institutional advancement, “The first objective was to strengthen and support the College’s nationally competitive academic programs. The second was become a leader in serving first-in family modest income students, and the third was to cement LSC’s position as an economic engine within the Northeast Kingdom.”

One clear outcome of the campaign: Lyndon’s nationally recognized academic programs will continue to prosper. The College’s renowned Atmospheric Sciences program received a boost from a commitment of over $200,000 dedicated to enhancing student learning through the creation of the Center for Meteorological Education and Research. The Vermont Center for Community Journalism (VCCJ) was the recipient of $75,000 donated by AT&T. This funding allows VCCJ to continue to provide a real-world laboratory for journalism students including the student-produced award-winning News7 broadcast. VCCJ was able to create NewsLINC, an internet news outlet. Students in Sustainability Studies flexed their muscles and their brains when they helped assemble and install a 5kW photovoltaic array. The project was funded through a U.S. Department of Energy grant secured by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. LSC also established an Institute of Russian Language, Culture and History to introduce the general public to Russian history, culture and current events.

The College is now poised to help more students-especially students from the Northeast Kingdom-achieve both personal and professional success. The Second Century Campaign helped establish The Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students, through two congressionally-directed grants that support the College’s efforts to conduct research on and develop programs to improve rural first-in-family, modest-income (FFMI) students’ retention and completion rates. The Leahy Center is one of the most visible outcomes of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation-funded Project Compass initiative which has directed $780,000 in grants over five years in support of a wide-range of strategies designed to increase the retention rates of FFMI students.

The College is also heavily involved in community outreach and student support activities that have been bolstered by the support of alumni, friends, and foundations. For example, the Early Promise Scholarship and Mentoring Programs offer partial financial support to qualified students and pairs FFMI student mentors with regional high school students. These efforts are reinforced by the creation of Carhartt Advising Resource Center, which was established to ensure all students receive the information they need to succeed at Lyndon, and beyond. The Dr. Robert A. Burnham Academic Support Center (Bob’s Place) allows student support services like Project Excel, the math and writing labs and general academic support to be housed under one roof.

These programmatic initiatives were complemented by significant growth in scholarship monies over the course of the campaign. Twenty-one new scholarship endowments were created, more than doubling the total College endowment from $1.4 million to approximately $3.1 million. During that time 570 scholarships were awarded for a total of over is nearly $520,000. Lyndonville’s Taylore Aussiker ’13, notes, “I was honored to be a recipient of the Cola H. Hudson Scholarship… My aspirations could not have been envisioned without the aid of this scholarship.”

The campaign also aimed at reshaping the Northeast Kingdom economy by supplying the region with a highly employable workforce. The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE) was created through gifts from individuals and companies as well as grant support from USDA Rural Development, which established a core CRE initiative, the Incubator without Walls (IWoW). IWoW pairs faculty and students with employers to create and keep jobs in the Northeast Kingdom. Burke, Vermont-based fashion designer, Tara Lynn Scheidet said, “I really appreciate the time, energy and passion the students are all putting in to help me improve my business operations and plans.” Numia Medical Technology designs, develops and manufactures state-of-the-art medical drug infusion devices in Lyndonville, Vt. Numia’s president, Erich Flachbart stated, “…my success as a business relies on the availability of talent. I’ve had the opportunity to work with LSC students…they are skilled and prepared and I want to hire them.”

A Vermont Department of Labor grant helped fund another CRE initiative, the Northeast Kingdom Manufacturing Training Program. The College developed this program after learning that regional economic growth had been stunted in recent years by the lack of qualified employees. Workers are retrained with the desired manufacturing skills, allowing local manufacturers to grow their businesses.

The Second Century Campaign received 8,725 gifts thanks to the efforts of 156 volunteers. The average gift to the College grew by $900 from $255 to $1,159. Seventy-nine percent of the faculty and staff contributed; 30% of alumni made gifts. Whittaker said, “Every gift, grant, and pledge was counted and every dollar mattered.” Lyndon’s Legacy Society added members when 30 individuals included a planned gift to LSC in their estate plan. LSC established The Hornet Club to help give Lyndon’s student-athletes, coaches, and athletic programs the resources needed to remain competitive as new full members of the NCAA in Division III. A ribbon cutting ceremony during Homecoming 2012 will open the doors to the new Vail Museum, preserving and celebrating the Manor Vail era-all made possible by the Second Century Campaign.

A long and successful effort behind it, Lyndon now stands ready for its second century. National Campaign Chair, Mark Valade, C.E.O. of Carhartt, Inc., states, “The Campaign brought more friends into the Lyndon circle, increased the awareness of the College in Vermont and beyond, and demonstrated the vitality of the Lyndon community through its ability to meet and surpass such an ambitious goal under the worst of economic conditions. Now that’s worth celebrating!”