My Suburban Life

Elmhurst University sets fundraising record

Elmhurst University received more than $10 million in donations during the school’s 150th anniversary year, setting a new fundraising record.

In December, the school celebrated the sesquicentennial by unveiling a $50 million fundraising campaign on its founding date. The university has raised $44.9 million, or 90% of its historic goal. Before the public launch of the “Elmhurst 150″ campaign, the school already had reaped more than $40 million in a “quiet phase” that began six years ago.

The four-year private institution plans to use the funds to expand and renovate the century-old Memorial Hall for the nursing department and other health science programs; to make improvements to Faganel Hall and Langhorst Field, an outdoor athletic facility; to boost its endowment; and to support scholarships.

“We are so pleased with the generosity we’ve seen from across the Elmhurst University community,” Elmhurst University President Troy VanAken said in a statement. “It demonstrates a strong commitment to the university’s mission, as well as to our vision and plans for the future.”

The school’s fundraising prowess continued into the fiscal year ending in June. The university raised more than $10.1 million, up by nearly $130,000 from the previous fiscal year.

“Our sesquicentennial gave us a number of wonderful opportunities for our students, alumni and friends to come together around our shared bonds with the university,” VanAken said. “It also was a time to celebrate the impact and importance of philanthropy for our campus.”

“Elmhurst 150″ is the largest fundraising campaign in university history.

A $3.4 million donation by brothers Robert and Tim Jans kicked off an initiative to introduce more STEM students to military careers while also supporting student veterans on campus. Their gift was the largest ever bestowed on the university by living donors, school officials said.

Founded in 1871, the school originally prepared young men for theological seminary and trained parochial school teachers. The school took on the name Elmhurst College in 1924 when it became a four-year college for men. Women first enrolled in 1930.

Shedding the “college” moniker, the school adopted its new name, Elmhurst University, in July 2020.

Elmhurst will welcome back students for the first day of classes on Aug. 29.