From Illinois Business Journal news services

LEBANON  — McKendree University has announced the most ambitious fund-raising goal in its 188-year history — a $40 million capital campaign to support the renovation of Voigt Science Hall and Holman Library.

To date, the university has raised almost $25 million of its goal in donations and pledges. At an event on May 7 it launched the public phase of “Forward – The Campaign for McKendree University.”

The renovations will ensure McKendree students and faculty have access to improved, state-of-the-art technology for teaching, learning and research, said Dr. James Dennis, university president.

“This campaign will be transformational for McKendree students for generations, comprising our primary academic needs and highlighting our commitment to the development of young scientists, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, environmentalists, agricultural specialists, mathematicians, researchers, teachers, engineers, inventors and many others,” Dennis said. “Our campaign goal is to create a modern, state-of-the-art science facility that will nurture and challenge our best students.”

Built in 1965, Voigt Science Hall was the first modern educational addition to the campus. Named after Edwin E. Voigt, the college president from 1964 to 1968, it is central to the university’s growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

Planned capital improvements include redesigned multipurpose classrooms, a large lecture hall, more space for student research, additional labs, offices, a rooftop observatory, and informal meeting spaces to promote group learning. An addition to the building’s north end will feature a new formal entrance, lobby and elevator.

All McKendree undergraduate students complete at least one course in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics or computer science, the president noted. In the last five years, the biology pre-professional major has experienced over 100 percent growth; the computer science major has increased by 54 percent.

Holman Library, which opened in 1969, will be transformed to provide the latest technologies, access, data and resources required by students and faculty for their academic work. The renovated library will be a center for collaboration as well as quiet study and research. Features will include the university Archives and Museum, compact shelving for print resources, expanded computer labs and group meeting areas, upgraded lecture rooms, improved access to technology, and a coffee and snack bar.

Other campaign objectives call for improvements to infrastructure and technology in the classrooms of Old Main, built in 1850, and Clark and Carnegie Halls, built in 1911. Additional funds will support endowed student scholarships; endowed faculty positions; programs, services and co-curricular activities; classroom and laboratory equipment; salaries and professional development.

“For 188 years it has been alumni, parents and friends who have come forward to provide support for this university at critical moments,” said Dan Lett, chair of the board of trustees. “It is because of this generosity that McKendree can look to the future with confidence and be assured that others will step forward as well. We are indeed grateful.”

McKendree University’s last fundraising campaign, “Heritage Heart & Hope,” raised over $27 million to build The Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. Built in 2006, “The Hett” houses the university’s music and theatre departments and a 488-seat performing arts center.

An informational video is posted on the university website, mckendree.edu.