Unsung Heroes

By Hailey Bryant, Journalist Intern on 3/14/2014


adv 1Behind Crisman, there is a team of ladies who work ceaselessly to make Lipscomb University operate smoothly. Few students would even recognize their faces, yet their work allows so many of us to not only attend Lipscomb, but also participate in over 50 mission trips throughout the year. This special group is Advancement Services.

The assembly of five is comprised of Fran Avers, Jeanice Fisher, Debbie Tumblin, Sherry Cunningham, and Kindall Deitman. Together, they do the meticulous work of processing monetary gifts and donations for the University. Every single day they handle hundreds of checks and online donations, adding up to thousands upon thousands of dollars. Since there is so much money involved, their methods of handling and documenting the gifts are laborious tasks. Between the five of them, they have worked for Lipscomb University for a combined 108 years, devoting their time to ensure that donations are distributed in a way that reflects each donor’s intent.

Lipscomb Missions is a major part of their job as many of the donations they receive are intended to aid students in their service efforts throughout the year. Every dollar that is donated on a mission team member’s behalf goes through an extremely long process, handled with precision every step of the way. Fran Avers, who has worked for the university for 34 years, knows why she puts in the hours on a job that can seem monotonous at times. “Students work hard to get the money for their mission trips, “ says Avers. “They tell their stories in such a way that compels people to give and I just want to make sure I do my part that helps them be part of these efforts.”

When asked what the ladies have noticed after having spent so many years working in the environment, they all seem to agree that the difference is the donor. “Today’s donor is more aware than ever of our programs,” Tumblin shares, “They are much more specific about where they want their money to go.” When a donor is very particular about the destination of their money, Advancement Services has to work a bit harder, something that they are more than willing to do.

From the time someone writes a check on a student’s or program’s behalf to the time that check is deposited into the bank is quite the extensive process. "Debbie, Fran, Sherry, Jeanice, and Kindall work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that each gift received by Lipscomb is properly reported, receipted, and recorded according to the donor’s wishes,” says Carrie Thompson, Assistant Vice President Development and Alumni Relations. “It’s a big job considering this office handles well over 25,000 separate gift transactions per year for the University in addition to many other responsibilities. They are committed to supporting the donors, students, alumni, employees and friends who invest in the mission of Lipscomb. I am personally grateful for the passion and dedication they bring to their work in the Advancement Services office."

Without them, Lipscomb would not be able to function as efficiently as it does and students who rely upon the generosity of donors would quickly realize their absence, as well. You won’t find them bragging about the importance of what they do or expecting anyone to recognize their faces on campus. Instead, these five ladies put in long hours doing the work they know will benefit the students they are here to serve.

Follow the flow of a donation to Lipscomb Missions via the chart below.

Donation chart