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Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Raises over $100 Million in Largest Capital Campaign Effort in the Seminary’s History

May 11, 2017
President Lallene J. Rector and Chairperson Jerre Stead

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has surpassed its $100 million Forging Our Future capital campaign goal, the largest fundraising effort in the seminary’s 162-year history. With over 17,100 donors contributing to the success of this campaign, the goal was surpassed with a recent $5 million commitment to unrestricted endowment from Ernest and Bernice Styberg.

Stybergs Put the Campaign Over the Top

The campaign began in 2003 with a more modest goal of $35 million when the seminary celebrated its sesquicentennial. The Stybergs were named honorary co-chairs of the campaign and they made the lead gift. In 2006 the campaign goal was raised to $60 million and the Stybergs stepped up to make an additional significant gift. In 2009, the trustees of Garrett-Evangelical voted unanimously to raise the campaign goal to $100 million, and once again the Stybergs played a key role by including Garrett-Evangelical in their estate plans. With their most recent $5 million commitment, the Stybergs are now the lead donors in this historic marathon campaign.

Through their generous giving the Stybergs have contributed to all four of the seminary’s major campaign goals: unrestricted endowment, endowed scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, and endowed program support. “We have been strong supporters of education for many years, especially faith-based education,” said Ernie Styberg. “The mission of Garrett fits perfectly with ours.”

In recognition of their outstanding leadership in the Forging Our Future capital campaign as well as in previous campaigns, Garrett-Evangelical is naming the library the Ernest and Bernice Styberg Library, effective immediately. “It has been a privilege and joy to know the Stybergs for nearly 30 years and to watch their interest in and commitment to the seminary grow over the years,” said Rev. Dr. David L. Heetland, vice president for development. “I am delighted that their legacy at Garrett-Evangelical will live on with the naming of the seminary’s library.”

Forging a Future Where All Will Know the Love of Christ

The many gifts from alums, trustees, friends, foundations, and churches make the following possible:

  • A stronger endowment: Donors contributed more to unrestricted endowment—$53.2 million—than to any other campaign goal. This is good news, as an unrestricted endowment is vital to the seminary’s long-term strength and allows it to stay on the cutting edge of theological education.
  • More scholarship support: Donors gave $37.4 million to endowed scholarships, which will enable the seminary to provide more assistance to students so that all qualified students will be able to pursue their call to ministry.
  • Enhanced faculty support: Individuals donated $8.1 million to endow faculty positions in theology, preaching, worship, and spiritual formation, thus ensuring that there will always be professors in these critically important areas to teach our students.
  • Strengthened distinctive programs: Donors provided $2.3 million to endow some of the seminary’s distinctive programs, such as a preaching institute, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience, and the seminary’s library.

“The success of the Forging Our Future capital campaign demonstrates that Garrett-Evangelical is stronger than ever and that the seminary’s core values endure,” said President Lallene J. Rector. “This spirit of caring, generosity, and stewardship defines the Garrett-Evangelical family and an institution that receives support from so many is a very special place, indeed. Through the faith witness of this school and all who have contributed to it, God continues to call us to forge a future where all will know the love of Christ.”

This truly was a joint effort and without the generosity of the seminary’s trustees, alums, friends, foundations, and churches it would have been impossible to reach the $100 million campaign goal. The seminary is forever blessed by these unwavering gifts and will remain strong for years to come because of the deep level of commitment by so many.

Concluding the Forging Our Future Capital Campaign

Even though the $100 million goal has been surpassed, the Development Office will continue to receive gifts to the campaign until the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2017. To date, not all of the internal campaign goals have been met and there are still some alums, trustees, and friends who want to make gifts to the campaign. The seminary will officially conclude the Forging our Future campaign on June 30, 2017—six months ahead of schedule!