Judson College concludes $20.4 million Blessed Light Campaign
Judson College officially concluded Blessed Light: The Campaign for Judson College with a dinner at The Club in Birmingham Sept. 20. The event was given in honor of Birmingham-area donors and campaign leaders.In June 2015, Judson College launched the public phase of Blessed Light: The Campaign for Judson College. This three-year initiative addressed several areas of priority, including capital improvements, annual operating and endowment support, and capital debt reduction.
The campaign’s base goal was $13 million, and a challenge goal was set at $20.4 million. By September 2018, the campaign eclipsed the challenge goal, with gifts and pledges totaling upwards of $20.5 million.
Blessed Light projects that have already been completed include soccer and softball field lighting at the Charles F. Dunkin Athletic Park, refurbishment of Anne Kirtley Hall (the freshman residence hall), and the completion of the Piper Equine Complex, which includes the new King Instructional Center. Improvements to Julia Tarrant Barron Hall, Mary Katherine Archibald Blount Student Center, and the college’s President’s Home are ongoing, and plans are being made to refurbish Bowling Library.
Blessed Light gifts also made possible the establishment of 14 new endowed scholarships, with $3,239,000 raised for new and existing endowed scholarships.
Addressing donors and leaders at the Birmingham event, Dr. Terry Morgan, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, said that, at its core, the Blessed Light campaign benefits students: “We meet tonight with grateful hearts for what God has done and made possible through you for Judson and, most importantly, for the students that we serve.”
Interim President Dr. Scott Bullard discussed the campaign’s theme, which was inspired by words from the College’s Alma Mater:
“Mother Judson, Alma Mater, we would win life’s glorious fight;
We, like thee, would live for service–like thee, send forth blessed light.”
Bullard said that the College’s motto, Lux et Veritas, or “Light and Truth”, echoes this theme, and that “blessed light” permeates Judson’s campus; “in our classes and in our presentations, in our discussions with students, we remind them that they are corporately pursuing Light and Truth. We encourage them not to take shortcuts, so that they will become better servants–women who embody God’s Light and Truth in a world that needs it so much.”
At the event, donors enjoyed a student discussion led by Susan Jones, Senior Vice President and Dean of Students. Two Judson seniors discussed ways that they have been equipped to “send forth blessed light” during their time at Judson.
Shelby Lauzon, a biology and chemistry major from New Orleans, La., credits the investment of her professors and college staff members with her discovery of her calling: “When I first came to Judson, I thought without a doubt that I wanted to earn a Ph.D. in infectious disease. I thought I would just fly under the radar and get my degree. That didn’t happen! All of my professors took an interest in me and really helped me realize that I could have a heart for service and research. Throughout my time at Judson, I have learned to actually know who I want to be, and who I am called to be. I’m now going to obtain an M.D. and a Ph.D. so that I can help my patients in a clinical setting and continue to do laboratory work. All of my talents have been really focused in the lab, but my heart is focused on people, so, because of my time at Judson, I have learned how I can use both of my gifts.” Lauzon thanked donors for the opportunities their gifts made available to her through scholarships and operating support.
Kayla Oliver, a religious studies and psychology major from Odenville, Ala., shared how she experienced the light of Christ in new ways during her time at Judson. “I had just become a believer two years before I got to campus, and I had never heard the word “hymnal” until I got here!,” Oliver said. “During my time at Judson I have gotten to experience my first mission trip, and while I was traveling to and from volleyball games, my coach played a huge role in sharing the Gospel with me and discipling me as I learned how to apply the Gospel to my life as an athlete.” Oliver also thanked donors for scholarship support, as well as funding for the renovations of Anne Kirtley Residence Hall, where Oliver serves as a Resident Assistant. She said that one of her favorite parts of the Kirtley project was the refurbishment of the lobby space. “The lobby has really blessed us,” she said, “because it’s a place where freshmen can start building community with each other and with the upperclassmen. It’s a beautiful thing as a Resident Assistant in the freshman dorm to watch freshman girls come in and make their home on our campus, and they can do that because of you.”
Presentations were made to the co-chairs of the national Blessed Light campaign, Fay Pridgen Kelsoe and Charles F. Dunkin. Each received an original painting of a Judson scene by Mobile artist and alumna Cat Pope. Chairs of Blessed Light divisions received certified numbered prints of Pope’s paintings and were also recognized at the event: Jimmy Sanford, Trustees/Former Trustees Division; Lesley Sheek, Faculty & Staff Division; Dorothy Burdeshaw and Cynthia McCaleb Gore, Alumnae Division; Roy Barnett and Catesby Jones, Judson Area Division; Henry King, Birmingham Division.
Bullard credited donors with “leaning into the spirit” embodied by the College’s late President Dr. David Potts, whose vision inspired the campaign. “David embodied for us all not only a giftedness, but a spirit of service. He wanted to do for Judson students whatever it is he was able to do with the gifts that our God had so graciously given him.” Judson administrators honored Potts’ wife Beth with an original painting of the College’s iconic Rose Sunday procession.
“As Judson successfully concludes Blessed Light – The Campaign for Judson College, we are grateful for the accomplishments made possible through the generosity of alumnae and friends,” said Morgan. “Their investments have had a remarkable impact on the education of students and have strengthened the college in fulfilling her mission of Christian higher education especially for women. In a time in which we strive against darkness in the world, Judson is, as noted in her Alma Mater, a ‘beacon on the hilltop’—she is ‘blessed light’ in the world.”
View more photos of the event below: