Graham Blanton

Methodist University celebrated its 62nd annual Loyalty Campaign for Student Scholarships Feb. 28 at Fairfield Inn & Suites on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville.

Methodist University celebrated its 62nd annual Loyalty Campaign for Student Scholarships Feb. 28 at Fairfield Inn & Suites on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville.

The University honored Mr. Graham Blanton as the 2017 Loyalty Supporter of the Year. Blanton has supported Methodist University as a member of the Endowment Society and Board of Visitors, and as a faithful Loyalty Campaign Supporter for 28 straight years.

“For the past 30 years, along with you, I have seen Methodist College change to Methodist University and I’ve seen the growth,” Blanton said in his acceptance speech. “But what counts the most are the students and all of you that participate in the financial support of the University by participating in the Loyalty Campaign. The older you become, the more you believe that helping others is No. 1.”

The goal this year was to raise $200,000 for student scholarships. Donations continue to roll in. At press time, the Loyalty Campaign for Student Scholarships had raised $128,495.19, and that figure continues to grow. Supporters who have not given are encouraged to visit to contribute to the campaign.

In the days leading up to Feb. 28, 20 teams made of up of 150 community volunteers personally reached out to more than 2,000 individuals off campus to ask them to make a gift to the Loyalty Campaign for Student Scholarships. More than 10,000 alumni and friends were solicited nationwide.

Methodist University’s Loyalty Campaign is rooted in a tradition of local support older than the school itself. Before the then-named Methodist College opened to its first class in 1960, secular and religious community leaders gathered pledges and donations from the local community for a small, private, liberal arts college that would be built in Fayetteville.

“The institution owes its very founding to community leaders who believed in the philosophy of university-community partnerships,” said Methodist University President Dr. Ben Hancock.

In 1956, the Fayetteville College Foundation, which has since been renamed the Methodist University Foundation, pledged to raise an annual contribution of $50,000. The University is observing a year-long celebration the 60th anniversary of the signing of the University charter on Nov. 1, 1956 and the 62nd annual Loyalty Campaign.

Like the original board, the current Foundation is made up of business owners and community leaders from all walks of life in Cumberland County. The Advancement and Alumni Affairs Office estimates that nearly 600 local leaders have served on the Foundation since it formed, with thousands more community members serving over the years as Loyalty Campaign volunteers, making phone calls, personal visits, and other efforts to appeal to residents and businesses for the fundraising event.

This year’s Loyalty Campaign chair was William Brooks, BB&T market president. BB&T was one of the first supporters of the University and of the Loyalty Campaign and has contributed every year since.

“I am glad to support the Loyalty Campaign because of the great work Methodist University does to develop students for success and empower them to become leaders,” said Brooks.

Though Loyalty Campaign was originally about raising funds to help the college operate; in 2005, the focus shifted to student scholarships, something to which MU dedicates more than 26 percent of its budget each year. With more than 95 percent of Methodist University students receiving financial aid, many students would not be able to attend the university without scholarships like the ones funded through the Loyalty Campaign. In the 2015-2016 academic year, MU awarded $21.4 million in financial aid to students.