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Giving Society Overhaul Introduced in University’s Birthday Year

As part of its 125th year of celebration, Huntington University’s Office of Advancement is pleased to announce the restructuring of its giving societies and donor recognition.

“This may seem like a largely symbolic gesture with no real value to anyone outside of the Office of Advancement, but that’s not the case,” said Stephen Weingart, vice president for university advancement. “The fact is, this restructure provides more options for our generous donors and creates a clear plan for the recognition of those who choose to invest in Huntington University.”

Weingart also pointed out that the restructure reinforces the safety policies in place for those who choose to give anonymously.

Some giving societies are receiving new monikers, while others are simply receiving an official description to explain their name and history.

The Merillat Society remains the highest honor a donor can receive. Reserved for those who have lifetime contributions to Huntington University of $250,000 or more, the Merillat Society is named after and honors the largest contributing family to the University.

The 1897 Society remains the name of the society established for those who have given between $100,000 and $249,999 to the University over their lifetime. Named after the year of the University’s founding, this society is emblematic of the dedication of longevity and perseverance.

The Milton Wright Society, also known as the Wright Society, remains reserved for those who have given between $50,000 and $99,999 over their lifetime. This society is named after and honors United Brethren in Christ Bishop Milton Wright, who helped lay the cornerstone for what we know today as Becker Hall. He also offered the prayer of dedication on September 21, 1897.

 New to the giving society family is the Heartwood Society, which distinguishes those who have given between $25,000 and $49,999 to the University over their lifetime. The heartwood of a tree is the central core of that tree, giving it strength and stability to grow. Members of the Heartwood Society are the heart and soul of the University, giving her financial stability and academic permanence.

The EverGreen Society is a new society created specifically for those who create an endowed scholarship of $25,000 or more. Individuals, families and companies who create an endowed scholarship help guarantee the future of Huntington University. Just as Foresters “bleed green,” members of this society are Ever Green.

The Pacesetter Society, which was developed as part of the Faith Forward 2022 Strategic Plan, is a society for those who commit to gifting $1,000 or more annually to the Forester Fund. More than 90% of HU students receive some kind of financial aid. Much of that aid comes in the form of scholarships provided by the Forester Fund. Generous gifts to the Forester Fund help make the Huntington University experience an affordable reality for tomorrow’s leaders.

The Baker Society retains its name, as it is an homage to Dr. E. DeWitt Baker, HU president from 1965-1981, and his wife, Evelyn Baker, for significant momentum in academic success and new campus facilities. Members of this society, like the Bakers, have faithfully given to Huntington University for 30 years or more and ensure the University’s longevity.

And finally, the Forester Legacy Society is a new society established to honor those who have remembered Huntington University in their legacy planning, including those who have remembered HU as a beneficiary, as part of a bequest or trust, in a life insurance policy or in gifts of property.

Faith Forward 2022 is the strategic plan that encompassed the Step Forward Comprehensive Campaign. This campaign is the largest comprehensive campaign in Huntington University’s history. The Faith Forward 2022 Strategic Plan began in 2014 and was designed to culminate in 2022, which is the University’s 125th birthday. This strategic plan has guided the addition of five new programs and 11 capital projects, including two building additions, one complete renovation and one new building.