It is a pleasure to hear visitors and alumni returning to campus compliment us on the beauty they find here. From the 23 buildings on the National Historic Register to the developing green spaces called for in the university’s master plan, The W is like no other collegiate campus in the state.
In this issue of Visions, you will learn more about improvements being made to campus infrastructure— from a major library renovation that will provide a 21st century state-of-the-art resource to plans for the former Demonstration School, now renamed Turner Hall in honor of longtime principal and W alum Alma Turner. We are grateful for support from the state Legislature, which has provided bond funding to move these projects forward.
Many of the advances we make at The W, however, are increasingly reliant on the generosity of private donors. Private giving provides many opportunities not available through state funding and supports innovation in faculty and student programming. Some of our signature events, for example, would not be possible without private giving.
The longstanding Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium is possible with generous support from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. More recently, the II+C Symposium on Heart Disease in Underserved Communities, as well as the inaugural Music by Women Festival, are possible because of private contributions made to the university. Both drew hundreds of participants and raised the profile of The W in areas of strength.
This summer, our outstanding choir will be in Scotland, where they will record at the historic Greyfriar’s Kirk in Old Edinburgh and sing at a variety of locations, including St. Giles Cathedral. They have worked hard to raise private funds to support this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and additional private funding will make this opportunity possible. We are able to bring the Starkville/ MSU Symphony to Columbus because of private support, offering a rich cultural experience to the community.
Campus beautification efforts also have depended largely on private giving. Improvements such as Puckett Plaza between Puckett House and Stovall House are providing both a beautiful and welcoming space for guests, as well as a potential space for outdoor entertaining. We will soon break ground on Pioneers Plaza, honoring some of the university’s most notable trailblazers. Development of this space will not be possible without the commitment of private donors.
I am grateful to our Foundation and Alumni leadership for advancing the importance of private giving to support the continued improvement of our university. Contributions to the MUW Foundation, no matter the size, make a profound impact on our ability to dare, dream and achieve. I thank each of you for your continued support of this wonderful university.