February 29 was a special day on the Lipscomb University campus, but not because it marked the latest Leap Year. On Wednesday, Feb.29, hundreds of students took a moment out of their day to thank those who help make their college education possible by donating money to scholarships or to the institution.
The day marked Lipscomb’s second annual Tuition Freedom Day, symbolically marking the day when tuition dollars cease to cover the expenses of the university and private donations from donors, alumni, parents and friends take on the cost.
“I’m thankful I don’t have to pay an extra $4,800 today, because that is what every student would have to pay without private donors,” said Daniel Wakefield, chair of the Student Philanthropy Council and student body president. “It’s nice not to have an extra $19,000 or more in debt load when graduation comes. That’s extra stress I am very thankful not to have.”
Most Lipscomb students don't realize that their tuition only covers about 80% of their education at Lipscomb. Gifts from generous donors make up the rest. Tuition Freedom Day is a day set aside so students can show their gratitude to donors for helping them obtain a college education.
On Tuition Freedom Day the Student Philanthropy Council offered students an opportunity to write a personal note to Lipscomb’s donors, and to sign a “thank you” banner that will hang in Crisman Administration Building.
Students had plenty of examples of things at Lipscomb that they love, and wouldn’t have were it not for generous donors.
Jose Rodriguez, senior in international business, from Houston, Texas, is thankful for the Student Activity Center, especially the recent renovation that expanded the weight room and improved the gym floor. “For me, (donations) are a huge help. Without them, I probably wouldn’t be here. It’s a great blessing to have those donors.”
Brittany Bishop, a sophomore in exercise science, from Columbia, Tenn., is thankful for the personal relationships she has with the faculty on campus: “Everyone here genuinely cares for us, and my friends at state universities say they don’t have that. I have had an awesome experience here at Lipscomb. I wanted to say thanks for making it possible for me.”
Elizabeth Hayes, a senior in social work, from Nashville, is thankful for the variety of food options in the Bennett Campus Center: “Sometimes we complain about tuition, but I didn’t realize that we could be paying so much more. It really makes you so much more appreciative.”
Other students said they are thankful for plenty of computer labs all over campus, for the diversity of students on campus, and the high quality of the facilities overall.
“None of this would happen without the infrastructure and the facilities,” said Wakefield. “We couldn’t socialize without a place to socialize; we couldn’t go to class without classroom buildings; we couldn’t go to athletic events without the arena and the sports fields. It allows us to have more people in our community, more programs and more diversity.”
“It is important to know that people are out there trying to spread God's love and make this world a better place by helping average students to have the college experience and to participate in an awesome school like Lipscomb,” said Janese Malone, a senior in exercise science, from Gallatin, Tenn. “Thank You! You are amazing and kind people.”
Students, if you are interested in writing a thank you note to Lipscomb’s donors, click here.
In 2011, Lipscomb launched the Lipscomb:Next initiative, to invest $125 million in facilities and academics by our 125th anniversary in 2016. Lipscomb:Next was kicked off in November 2011 with a generous $10 million commitment benefitting the David Lipscomb Campus School from Nashvillian Bill Stephens, through the Stephens Christian Trust.
Lipscomb:Next will work to:
Establish 20 new academic programs in education, business, health sciences, engineering and information technology,
Add 30 full-time faculty,
Build new facilities for the College of Education,
Build a new science complex including a renovation of McFarland Science Center and constructing a new health science research center and health science simulation center (now under construction),
A new conference center adjacent to the Ezell Center is envisioned, and
Expand the Swang Business Center.
If you are interested in learning more about donating to Lipscomb, click here.