Methodist College drive clicking

By Todd Cohen

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Methodist College in Fayetteville has increased the goal for its capital campaign to $12.85 million from $11 million, and expects to complete the campaign and begin construction on two new buildings by Sept. 15, 2005.

The school also will launch a leisure-industries master’s program in business administration in fall 2005 that will focus on professional golf, tennis and resort management and is believed to be the first degree of its kind in the United States.

The campaign, which began its “quiet” phase in late 2000 and kicked off its public phase in May 2002, had raised nearly $9.95 million through May 31, 2004, says Robin Davenport, director of development.

Members of the school’s board of trustees account for roughly half of the contributions to the campaign, which is co-chaired by Richard R. Allen Sr., president of Fay Block Co. and D.R. Allen & Sons, and Raymon L. Yarborough, a retired owner and former publisher of Fayetteville Publishing Co.

The campaign also has received two gifts of $1 million each from individuals and a third $1 million gift from a family foundation.

Funds from the campaign will be used to build a $5 million addition to the school’s Science Building and a new $3.5 million Fitness and Wellness Center, add $1.85 million over four years to the school’s annual fund, and add $2.5 million to the school’s endowment of roughly $8 million.

Methodist, which serves mainly undergraduates, has 2,200 students, nearly two-thirds of them from North Carolina, with 800 students living on campus.

The school, which opened in 1960 and has addresses for 6,500 of its 8,000 alumni, depends on tuition for 95 percent of its budget and receives roughly $150,000 a year from the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Methodist also raises money from alumni and parents through a phone-a-thon each fall, and from a “Loyalty Day” event each February that raises money in the community.

That event builds on a tradition of community donations that were used for the school’s startup after initially having been raised to establish a Presbyterian college in Fayetteville that ultimately was built in Laurinburg as St. Andrews College.

“It speaks to the strength of this community to move forward by continuing to support the dream of an independent college that is growing and thriving,” Davenport says.

The new master’s program in leisure industries, which will offer classes mainly in Pinehurst but also on campus and online, was developed based on a request by the PGA of America, says Phil Williams, dean of academic affairs.

Many golf professionals, he says, lack a master’s degree yet find themselves in jobs, such as managing country clubs, that would benefit from advanced studies in subjects such as real estate and finance.

The first class for the MBA program, which has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, likely will total 15 to 20 students who would visit Pinehurst for four long-weekends for classes, and then follow up with online instruction and study.

The addition to the Science Building will support a second master’s program, launched in 2001 for physician assistants, as well as other science programs.

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