From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Wed, 16 Mar 2005 17:45:20 -0600
Partnerships, increasing endowment critical for Africa University
Mar. 16, 2005 News media contact: Linda Green * (615) 7425470*
NOTE: Photographs are available at http://umns.umc.org.
By Linda Green*
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (UMNS)-Africa University's fund-raising committee is
focusing on forging new partnerships and finding fresh ways to
financially assist the United Methodist-related school in Zimbabwe.
Members of the Africa University Development Committee met March 15 to
brainstorm ways to finance capital projects at the university, increase
its endowment and help the school become a self-sufficient international
and ecumenical institution.
The committee also discussed "fresh ways to tell Africa University's
story" through United Methodist Communications, in consultation with the
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the
university's development office, according to its chairman.
"When people hear the Africa University story, they will be moved by the
story to support the educational enterprise called Africa University,"
said Bishop Ernest Lyght of West Virginia.
The university's endowment is at $25.5 million, with at least $60
million needed for sustainability. Committee members noted the critical
need for United Methodist congregations to pay 100 percent of their
apportionments by 2008 to address the university's daily operational
needs. United Methodist Communications is developing new ways to educate
people about the school's accomplishments.
"The focus we have as a development committee is to find ways to raise
the university's endowment fund to a higher level," Lyght said. "Africa
University is not yet self-sufficient, and the reality is that no
university is self-sufficient, but they are funded better than we are."
he said. "It is a reminder to the United Methodist Church that Africa
University needs its help if it is going to continue."
Lyght said he hopes the United Methodist Church will always realize that
"Africa University is a jewel on the continent of Africa."
Churches and annual conferences have supported the university by
providing scholarships and dormitories and through other
mission-oriented projects. The committee applauded two endowed projects
under way from the Greater New Jersey and Mississippi annual conferences
to support the university's newest discipline, the Faculty of Health
Sciences. A group of nurses in Northern Virginia will take the concept
of parish nursing to the university in August to promote the link
between theology and health sciences.
The Rev. Lloyd Rollins, a staff member of the university's development
office, has worked to cultivate support in African-American United
African-American United Methodists in Mississippi and Louisiana will
bring capital campaign proposals to their annual conference sessions
this spring and summer-Louisiana churches for $850,000 and Mississippi
churches for $1 million for capital projects and the university's
"Although there has been support of the university from African
Americans, the proposed campaigns are the result of the leadership that
has emerged from these conferences," Rollins said. "This is the first
time this segment of the conference populations has stepped out in
leading a major missional effort."
Developing partnerships is another goal of the development committee,
which heard overtures from Marsden First United Methodist Church on the
island of Bermuda. The Rev. Joseph Whalen, pastor of the 105-member
church, discussed forging a partnership among Africa University, the
church and the island. He proposed a cross-cultural immersion experience
with a Marsden delegation traveling to Africa University in 2006 for a
mission project and tour of the region and continued scholarship support
for a student.
"We thought that we could also support the university in some way,"
Whalen said, as he presented an undisclosed check to Africa university
officials for scholarship support.
"A partnership with Marsden First United Methodist Church and the island
of Bermuda would be an extension of our ministry to the United Methodist
Church in the world," said James Salley, Africa University's vice
chancellor for institutional advancement. "It is an opportunity to be
connected locally with a United Methodist church and have that church
open doors with citizens, corporations and multinational agencies in
In other action, committee members learned:
· Of a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded project between Africa
University and Clemson (S.C.) University to research areas of pest
management and explore possibilities to link public health and
· The partnership among Africa University, Methodist Hospital and St.
Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is ongoing, and two
leading St. Jude immunologists working to develop an HIV vaccine ended a
four-week assignment in February teaching health sciences at the
· Construction of a building to house the university's Institute of
Peace, Leadership and Governance has been delayed until May or June.
· Growth in the student population will require new facilities such as
dormitories, classrooms and a student-dining hall, as well as increasing
faculty and staff.
· The university will introduce a diploma in public health, and a
four-year degree program in health sciences in being prepared.
· Distance education programs are being developed and the university
is working with colleges, universities and churchwide agencies to get
the programs under way.
# # #
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer in Nashville,
News media contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or
United Methodist News Service
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