UNA Pressroom

University Of North Alabama Kicks Off Public Phase Of Campaign With Gala Featuring Firekid

Mar. 23, 2016

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

Bryan Rachal, University Communications

FLORENCE, Ala. - The University of North Alabama announced Tuesday that they have raised over $25 million on their way to a goal of $35 million for UNA's campaign, "Build the Pride."

Officials with UNA's Office of Advancement held a campaign gala to announce the start of the campaign's public phase. The event included a live performance from UNA alumnus Dillon Hodges (Firekid). But the biggest performers of the night were UNA's donors who have already helped the university raise $25,421,784 during the silent phase.

UNA is well on its way to reaching the $35 million goal after it was announced that $5.5 million has been given to the College of Nursing. Campaign co-chairs Dr. Donald and Laura Harrison ('55) announced that they have contributed $2.5 million to name the new nursing building. The additional $3 million will be coming from the Anderson family of Florence, Alabama.

"The gifts from the Harrisons and the Andersons are monumental for this institution and for Nursing," said UNA President Dr. Ken Kitts. "We're amazed and so grateful for their generosity and we know that others will want to join with them as we take UNA to the next level."

The Harrisons were in attendance at the gala and during their remarks noted that the new nursing building will officially be known as Harrison Hall.

"We think our nursing program is the best in the state and one of the best in the country, and our facilities should reflect that," Dr. Harrison said. "Our gift will go toward a state-of-the-art facility with equipped classrooms and modern laboratories. Harrison Hall will allow our faculty members and students to receive the finest training possible so that when they leave and conquer the world, they'll be bringing a little bit of UNA with them," he said.

Nursing is not the only beneficiary of the "Build the Pride" campaign. During her remarks, Dr. Judy Jackson, interim vice president for University Advancement, discussed how the $25 million committed at this point has been designated. Approximately 30 percent is for scholarships, 48 percent will go to capital projects, 14 percent will go toward academic programs and 8 percent will go to athletics.

Jackson said additional projects include the construction of a new performing arts center, a heavier emphasis on programs like engineering technology and the entertainment industry/music, and enhancing the overall UNA student experience. Additionally, UNA will embark on a new journey to transition from the current Honors Program to a more prestigious Honors College.

"What we're setting out to accomplish is massive in terms of this institution and this region," said Dr. Deborah Shaw, UNA alumna and Foundation Board member. "We believe this campaign will not only advance UNA to a point of national recognition, but it will also be a benefit for the area we call home, The Shoals. We have a great relationship with our surrounding area and if we benefit and grow, the area does as well. It's a win-win for our students and residents," she said.

The relationship between the university and the surrounding communities is a very important one for Dr. Ken Kitts, UNA president. Kitts stated at the event that his main goals are to celebrate the Shoals, provide an extraordinary experience for students and to tell UNA's story.

"I think the kick-off of the public phase for this campaign does all three," said Kitts. "We're celebrating the heritage and work ethic of the region by starting new programs and supporting existing ones. We're raising funds to provide our students with the ultimate experience, of which over $25 million has already been raised. And we're letting everyone know that we're one of the best institutions in the country thanks to our students, faculty/staff, alumni, friends and donors," he said.

For more information on "Build the Pride" the Campaign for UNA: www.una.edu/campaign