Photos by RYLEE MOORE and ANDREW TERRY | The Ranger
By RYLEE MOORE and ANDREW TERRY
Editor-in-Chief and Current Editor
The Amarillo College Foundation officially launched its Badger Bold comprehensive fundraising campaign Oct. 5
“It’s ambitious, it’s multi-layered and it will be vastly transformative,” said Russell Lowery-Hart, president of Amarillo College. “Through Badger Bold, we will empower students and faculty to unleash their unlimited potential, generate the workforce of the future and attract the jobs of the future and maximize the economic viability of our city and our region.”
The goal of the campaign is to raise $45 million over the next three years. During the ‘quiet period’ of the campaign before its official announcement, the Foundation raised $31.5 million dollars which is 70% of the total amount according to Lowery-Hart.
The campaign is set for $45 million in order to address a shortage, according to Joe-Bill Sherrod, vice president of institutional advancement. The 2019 bond election approved $90 million for the college, but, according to Sherrod, there was still a need of $30 million that was left unmet.
“We got a $15 million gift from MacKenzie Scott, and it was very unfair for us to not raise our goal. We’re actually going to fund about $20 million of the construction costs, the bond will do the rest,” he said.
One of the other major goals of the campaign is to transform AC into an institution that meets the needs of a changing economy, according to Lowery-Hart.
“The initiatives for this campaign are three-fold,” Lowery Hart said. “To improve the student experience with things like STEM scholars that focus on bringing students that wouldn’t normally see themselves in STEM fields to be leaders. To develop an Earn and Learn campaign that allows our students to earn a living while they earn credit and to bring athletics back to the college and the community.”
The second initiative is faculty and staff enrichment. According to Lowery-Hart, the campaign plans to support new endowments and training programs for staff and faculty members.
“The third are capital enhancements, things like the Innovation Outpost in our downtown campus,” he said. “The Russell Hall enrollment center that we will be able to show you in January, the fitness center… these three things, student experience, faculty and staff enrichment and capital enhancement are what will make Badger Bold not just transformative for AC, but transformative for Amarillo.”
Additionally, Lowery-Hart announced that the AC Foundation, as a part of the Badger Bold campaign, has established a research science endowment of $250,000 and that Dr. Asanga Ranasinghe, a professor of physical sciences, will be the first faculty member to use new faculty development resources to help advance student-faculty research opportunities at AC.
“Community Colleges are not widely known as research entities,” Lowery-Hart said. “We’re not known for our research prowess, but Amarillo College is fast changing that perspective.”
Sherrod announced that FirstBank Southwest has contributed to the campaign and that the foundation will officially recognize their donation at an event next week.