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Birmingham-Southern College announces $2 million gift, launches giving effort

Birmingham-Southern College announces $2 million gift, launches giving effort

For Immediate Release
Dec. 8, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Birmingham-Southern College announced Thursday, Dec. 8 that it has launched a three-year, $30 million giving initiative to build on the college’s strength as a national-caliber liberal arts institution. The Bridge to the Future initiative will allow the college to introduce new academic programs, increase enrollment, and reinvest in the local community.Birmingham-Southern College announces $2 million gift, launches giving effort

The college has received a $2 million lead gift to kick off the effort from Jim and Tammy Pierce of Destin, Fla. Jim Pierce, a member of the BSC Board of Trustees and 1974 alumnus, earned an MBA from the Wharton School, and is an investor, board member, and has held multiple executive positions at Isagenix, a fast-growing health and wellness company.

“This initiative is a bold move for BSC, but Jim and Tammy’s incredibly generous gift is indicative of the level of support the college has from our Board, our alumni, and the broader community. We are grateful to have the kind of commitment that will take our distinguished college to the next level and launch a new phase of sustained growth,” said BSC President Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith, who is spearheading the initiative as she completes her first semester in office. “In my short time as BSC’s president, I have been so grateful to Jim for giving his time to provide strong leadership on our Board, and now he and Tammy have made such an important leadership gift.”

Flaherty-Goldsmith said the initiative will give BSC a platform to expand its enrollment to 1,600 students--from 1,300 currently--by funding the costs of renovating first-year residence halls, providing scholarship support to incoming students, and helping recruit and retain faculty and staff. Last year, the college provided close to $30 million in aid to students; 25 percent of BSC students are first-generation college students.

“Most critically, the Bridge to the Future will allow us to make the remarkable education we provide at BSC accessible to more students,” Flaherty-Goldsmith said. “We have the opportunity to impact not just the lives of our students, but through them to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, our city, our state, and our world.”

Pierce, who came to Birmingham-Southern on a scholarship while working nights at a local factory, said that his experiences at and support from the college put him on the path to success.

“There is no question that BSC changed my life,” he said. “Tammy and I want to ensure that the next generation of students has the opportunity to receive the kind of hands-on, high-caliber education that this college offers--and that’s becoming even more important as our world is becoming more complex. We are so excited about everything that’s happening right now on the campus and with the new strong leadership.”

Bridge to the Future launches just as BSC is working to introduce several innovative majors and programs in the 2017-18 academic year, including a program in Creative and Applied Computing, a Distinction in Poverty Studies, a Distinction in Public Health, and an expansion of its unique Urban Environmental Studies major. It will also help support the college’s efforts to expand its partnership with the Birmingham community, especially in the West End neighborhoods that surround the school.

Hatton Smith and Liz Featheringill Pharo ’00, both members of the BSC Board of Trustees, are serving as volunteer co-chairs of the initiative.

“BSC is on the cusp of greatness, and while we’re already respected as a top national liberal arts college, it’s time for us to make sure that we’re bringing in the best students from all over the world,” Smith said. “The community values Birmingham-Southern, and BSC alumni drive the city forward. The Bridge to the Future will allow the community an opportunity to invest in the college’s future.”

About Bridge to the Future:

The three-year, $30 million fundraising initiative will support three strategic goals for building BSC’s next century:

1. Achieve sustainable and diverse enrollment growth for the next 100 years on the Hilltop. We will do so by increasing access to BSC’s transformative education and by continuing to offer innovative programs designed to equip future professionals within a liberal arts mode. BSC will continue with its innovative curriculum designed to ensure that all students graduate with the skills employers and graduate schools seek, and increase access for a broad range of students.

2. Create a stable financial platform for growth and to enhance student success. Funds raised will allow BSC to provide scholarship support; build new programs; improve campus infrastructure; and continue to prepare students through the Krulak Institute for Leadership, Experiential Education, and Civic Engagement and expanded experiential learning opportunities.

3. Support and engage the larger community. BSC is one of Birmingham’s most enduring and valuable institutions, with more than 300 employees and an estimated annual economic impact of $128 million. BSC plans to reinvest in the community--especially in West End--through a meaningful and forward-thinking academic curriculum that takes the classroom to the community and that brings the community to the classroom.

Use our secure online giving site to make your gift or pledge today!

About Birmingham-Southern College:
Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private liberal arts institution in Birmingham, Ala., founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It enrolls about 1,300 students from more than 30 states and 15 foreign countries.