Sewanee Enjoys Record-Breaking Fundraising Year

September 21, 2016

When the staff in Advancement services up on the second floor of Thompson Union closed the books on fundraising for fiscal-year 2016, they had recorded $33,558,609 in gifts and bequests. That total was the result of ongoing support from more than 17,400 loyal alumni, parents, and faculty and staff members. It also included a historic bequest of almost $8 million—to provide financial aid to students—from the estate of Emerson C. Winstead Jr., C’50, and Laura Battle Winstead from Wilson, North Carolina. The Winstead bequest is the fourth largest single gift in Sewanee’s history, and the largest single gift to support financial aid. 

The Winstead gift, and many other gifts to financial aid in FY16 are particularly important for Sewanee, which provides more than $26 million in institutional aid each year. In the last academic year, 81 percent of University students received some form of gift aid, including University aid, scholarships, remissions, and state or federal grants. Only about 20% of that is currently covered by gift and endowment revenue, so the significant additions to those sources is vital.

Emerson Winstead was a long time donor to Sewanee’s annual fund, steadily increasing his annual gifts from the 1980s to the 2000s. At Sewanee, he was a French major, a member of the University Choir and Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He was a retired administrator at the Eastern North Carolina Sanatorium.

The University is in the process of launching Stronger Truer Sewanee—The Campaign for the University of the South in a series of events, with on-campus launches last spring and the official public launch in October at Founders' Day. As a result of the banner year, the campaign made significant progress in fiscal 2016, reaching $165 million in campaign commitmentsexceeding our fiscal-year goal of $150 million--by year end. In addition to the Winstead gift, over the past year the campaign benefited by other significant commitments to the student experience, including a $1 million+ challenge to establish a Center for Civic Engagement, gifts and pledges of more than $1 million for the Hippocrates Challenge to support our pre-health program, and an anonymous gift of $1.5 million to support financial aid and faculty support.

"I am grateful for the many ways in which each of you contributed to our success in the last fiscal year," said Jay Fisher, vice president for advancement. "We look forward to another successful year ahead."