Capital drive in works

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gearing up for a capital campaign that could total $100 million and would be timed to coincide with its 150th anniversary in 2007, Queens University of Charlotte has quietly launched two smaller drives to raise $18 million.

The drives, to kick off publicly this fall, include $15 million for a sports complex at Marion Diehl Park on Tyvola Road near South Park Mall, and $3 million to add an entrepreneurial initiative to the leadership development program at the McColl Graduate School of Business.

Queens, which raised $80 million for several capital projects in a campaign that ended in 2002, also wants to raise $20 million to $25 million for a new residence hall or two, $15 million to $20 million for a new academic building, plus funds to increase its $30 million endowment to support professorships and student scholarships.

“We are looking at approximately $100 million worth of capital improvements, including endowments and programming,” says Patton McDowell, vice president for university advancement.

Part of a strategic plan developed under Pamela Lewis, named president two years ago after serving as business-school dean for two years, the sports complex is being developed in partnership with Mecklenburg County.

The county board of commissioners has approved a plan to let Queens, which has no room on its 25-acre campus, develop facilities for athletics and recreational sports at the 65-acre park, McDowell says.

The new complex, which will be accessible to senior citizens and special populations such as those with developmental disabilities, and available to the public most of the time, will include a track and field facility, eight to 10 tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, and an artificial field that can be used for soccer and lacrosse.

Co-chairs of the sports campaign, which already has raised $2 million in gifts and pledges, are Ben Jenkins, senior executive, vice president and head of the general bank for Wachovia, and Krista Tillman, president of BellSouth North Carolina.

The entrepreneurial campaign, which will support improvements in faculty, curriculum and classroom technology at the business school, reflects efforts by Dean Peter C. Browning, former CEO of National Gypsum Co. and Sonoco Products Co., to sharpen the focus of the faculty and programs on innovation and enterprise.

Co-chairs of the campaign, which already has raised $1.5 million, are J. Michael “Mike” McGuire, Carolinas managing partner for accounting firm Grant Thornton, and Cynthia Carlson, principal for executive-search firm Campbell/Carlson.

At the same time, Queens’ development office is moving to strengthen its operations and fundraising, McDowell says.

Queens raises roughly $6 million a year from individuals, corporations and foundations, and generates support from 25 percent to 35 percent of its 10,000 alumni.

While Queens has been ranked 18th overall among 130 universities in the South that offer master’s degrees, it ranks fifth among those schools based on the share of alumni who contribute.

The school has redesigned its web site, including an online-giving option launched this spring that already has landed an online gift of $10,000 from an alumnus.

It also is focusing increasingly on deferred giving, and counts $20 million to $30 million in planned gifts it expects to receive in the future.

“It’s a significant part of our effort,” McDowell says.

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