About the Campaign

Campaign celebration“Our challenge is to dream as big as our founders did and to develop a college that continues to be worthy of the aspirations our students and their families have for themselves, our region and the Commonwealth,” Chancellor David J. Prior said on Oct. 26, 2006 before 200 of UVa-Wise’s most loyal alumni and supporters as they officially began the “Fulfilling the Dream” campaign.

Five years later, Chancellor Prior stood in before a crowd of familiar faces and new friends to celebrate the successful conclusion of the $50 million campaign that exceeded expectations by raising $62 million.

Two dynamic reasons the ambitious campaign was successful were co-chairs Marcia Adams Gilliam ’82 and Hunter J. Smith.

It was fitting that the co-chairs received the Volunteers of the Year award as the crowd applauded their hard work and dedication.

Five years ago, Mrs. Smith predicted that the campaign would “touch every phase of college life and truly make a difference in the lives” of its students. She announced on Oct. 29, 2011 that 8,600 donors who participated in the campaign have made “a positive difference in the lives of” UVa-Wise students.

Five years ago at the campaign kickoff, Marcia Adams Gilliam said she believed the college’s founding fathers could not have envisioned the economic impact of the school on the region, but she said others now “recognize the impact of our college and can only dream of the future impact it will have.”

She used the word impact again as she spoke at the campaign celebration saying the impact of the campaign brought positive, transformational change to UVa-Wise.

The Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation was honored as Benefactor of the Year for its generous gift of $8.3 million to build the Health & Wellness Center addition to the Slemp Student Center and to renovate a portion of Greear Gymnasium.

As the campaign kicked off several years ago, Luke Rasnick ’10, a senior and vice president of the Student Government Association, was a child in Dickenson County. He said dodge ball tournaments and homework were on his mind as the campaign committee was making big plans.

“While I was worried about that 30 minutes of homework I had every evening…you all were making preparations for my arrival at UVa-Wise,” he told the 200 benefactors at the campaign celebration. I am so glad that while I was still playing in a sandbox somewhere, you all were gearing up the campaign to ensure that I had the opportunity for a bright future.”