Campaign News: Summer 2020
| by Carol Best firstname.lastname@example.org
$20 Million Student Center Goal Met! Thank You, MNU Supporters!
The largest component of the comprehensive Bright Futures Campaign is now fully funded--thanks to the generosity of MNU donors who long to see a new student center built on campus. On January 8, 2020, supporters of the Cunningham Student Center met the $1 million challenge grant terms from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation by raising the final $11 million for the project in just one year. It was daunting to consider raising that much funding so quickly, but MNU organizers rallied the volunteer leadership of the Campaign Executive Committee. Chaired by Tim and Gail Buchanan and Dan and JoAnne Rexroth, the committee mobilized leaders to use their time, talents and influence to make introductions, hold in-home events and make presentations to individuals and organizations who could give.
“The greatest takeaway from the Mabee Challenge phase of this campaign is that volunteer leadership and widespread support from our constituents made it happen,” says Dr. Jon North, vice president for university advancement. “We want to thank the many MNU friends, alumni, parents, faculty and staff, trustees, the Foundation Board, the Campaign Executive Committee, the Mabee Foundation, and donors who support our mission and gave to the project.”
A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for August 28, after students return to campus. The act of beginning construction when the first scoop of dirt is moved will be exciting. It will be the start of a dream realized.
“This process began with the students and their hopes and dreams for this building,” President David Spittal says. “The visibility and natural light throughout the building will be incredible. It’s going to give students and all of us options. Options for dining, meeting, collaborating and enjoying our beautiful campus together. When completed, this building will just hum with activity and vitality.”
Currently the building is slated to be complete in December 2021 with a fitting celebration to open the building as soon as possible thereafter.
Celebrating the Life and Ministry of Dr. Paul G. Cunningham
General Superintendent Emeritus Paul G. Cunningham passed from this world to his heavenly home July 18,
2020. Dr. Cunningham served 16 years, beginning in 1993, as a leader of the Nazarene denomination, traveling internationally, preaching, encouraging and leading pastors, missionaries and congregants around the world. But to MNU Pioneers everywhere, it was Pastor Cunningham’s 30-year tenure as senior pastor of College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, Kansas, that endeared him to the campus community that would not be here, if not for his vision.
Dr. Cunningham was a young minister in his first pastorate in the 46-member Olathe Church of the Nazarene in 1964 when the denomination voted to start a new college. Convinced that his city of 15,000 residents held the best potential location, Dr. Cunningham approached bank president and civic leader R.R. Osborne with the idea of locating the college here. Dr. Cunningham and Osborne put together a group of business leaders who donated land and secured local support. The location became MidAmerica Nazarene College and opened in 1968.
Not only did he influence the university’s location, but from 1968 to 1993, Dr. Cunningham served as the spiritual shepherd to students, faculty, staff and many residents of the area. He and his wife, Dr. Connie Cunningham, welcomed students to their home, provided guidance and influenced thousands for Christ. His purpose was so much greater than providing another institution of higher education in the heart of the country. It was, as he said in a thank you video to Nazarene congregations, for the purpose of creating a university with global impact for the Gospel of Christ.
“Dr. Paul Cunningham was a true shepherd servant whose passion for his Lord was reflected in his love for the church, people around the world and a vision that birthed our university,” said MNU President Dr. David Spittal. “We extend our condolences to his wife Connie and family and share the gratitude of all whose lives have been changed by his leadership, influence and legacy of faithful service.”
The student center is named for Drs. Paul and Connie Cunningham.