melanie harmon
Melanie Harmon
Photo provided by MU

MU Announces BOLD Campaign for Programs, Renovations

Brayden Scering

On Homecoming Weekend Manchester University launched Manchester Bold: a fundraising campaign used to bring new programs for faculty and students, a new Initiatives Fund, the renovation of the Otho Winger Building and Funderburg Library, and a brand-new wellness and sports performance center.

Melanie Harmon is the vice president of advancement, as well as the university’s chief fundraising officer, and she will be overseeing the campaign process and use of the funds. Harmon says that to discover what fundraising campaign will be used for, a feasibility study must be conducted. A feasibility study is a general assessment of the practicality of a proposed campaign or plan. A large part of the fundraising campaign includes annual operation costs of the university and supporting the endowment. The endowment is used to support faculty programs and provide student scholarships. She says that the endowment and annual operations will always be part of a fundraising campaign, whereas this campaign includes two unique programs.

The first unique program of this campaign is a new Initiatives Fund. This is unrestricted monies used for new program support, new co-curricular activities, and seed money to invest in new research programs for faculty and students. The new Initiatives Fund has been used already to help support the university’s marching band, which began in 2020.

Students have also seen the fund in action with the new nursing program, which was built on the backbone of this new fund. This new campaign wants to use this money to continue to support this Initiatives Fund to build new programs for students and allow more opportunities for students and faculty.

The other unique part of this campaign is for university capital support. This support will go into renovation and upkeep of the buildings on campus, mainly the Otho Winger Building, Funderburg Library, and construction of the new indoor health and wellness facility. “The arts and music is a huge part of who Manchester is,” Harmon says. The renovation of the Otho Winger building is a large part of the capital support funds from this new campaign. The renovation of Winger is about a five-million-dollar project that will consist of two phases. The first phase is a remodel of the basement and the first floor. The second phase will address the second and third floors.

The renovations of the first phase will include a new HVAC system to keep the buildings temperature regulated, and an elevator for student and faculty use to keep up with ADA regulations. The first phase will also include space for a new recording studio for the music department, a new classroom for digital media arts students, and rehearsal spaces. Lastly, the first phase will be used for general renovations to make the building look more modern that will include study spaces and open-air spaces to bring warmth to the building. The second phase will be general renovations of the second and third floors just like in the first phase.

Funderburg Library will be getting brand new renovations added to accommodate the ever-changing technological world we live in. 3D printing and virtual reality equipment are being added. The library will get a new climate-controlled room to accommodate the many fragile books housed by the university. This campaign is also bringing a new wellness and sports performance center to students. This will be an indoor facility that will be able to be used by athletes, students, and intramural teams. This indoor facility will host new equipment and space for everyone to use.

This campaign has a 45-million-dollar budget, but Harmon says that donors and students will “blow that number out of the water.” The campaign is open for everyone to donate to, and should be on the lookout for Giving Day on April 19, which is a chance for students and employees to give back to their university in support of new programs for them. The campaign has already raised 38 million from generous donors and with continued efforts by Harmon and her staff, she hopes to raise significantly more.