Lees-McRae moves closer to funding The Legacy Campaign through completion of the Bissell-Kopczynski Challenge

The completion of the $2 million Bissell-Kopczynski Challenge has ignited the momentum for one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns in Lees-McRae history.

The Legacy Campaign allows Lees-McRae to expand its scope and offer more opportunities to students, faculty, and High Country residents.  Lees-McRae bought the former Grandfather Home for Children property from Children’s Hope Alliance in spring of 2022, immediately doubling the size of the campus and achieving many of the goals outlined in INEXPRO 2030, the college’s strategic plan.

As a show of tremendous faith in the college’s vision for South Campus, the Charlotte-based Bissell and Kopczynski families agreed to match all contributions to The Legacy Campaign through the end of March 2023, up to $2 million. Lees-McRae was able to fully capitalize on the Bissell-Kopczynski Challenge thanks in part to a record-breaking Giving Day on March 23.

“We really feel like this is a once-in-a-lifetime campaign. This is basically the college’s Louisiana Purchase, as it more than doubles the size of the campus, so every dollar counts to help support this project,” Barbara and Todd Kopczynski said. “That’s the reason we chose to create the challenge—we know it takes a village.”

The generosity of the Bissell and Kopczynski families reflects the excitement many feel about the incredible growth currently taking place at the college. The acquisition of South Campus has enabled  Lees-McRae to significantly accelerate its forward progress. Move-in ready residence spaces allowed the college to take the Historic Commons buildings offline for renovation and hundreds of acres of land expanded the opportunities for experiential learning. 

More than 100 students currently live on South Campus. The land—which includes Wildcat Lake—has already been used for scientific research by faculty and students in the Biology and Wildlife Biology programs. Students in the Outdoor Recreation Management program have used the space to design and build an Adventure Park Learning Lab that will enhance the classroom experience. In the future, the college plans to use South Campus to expand the Wildlife Rehabilitation program, provide more opportunities for ORM students to gain career experience, and establish living-and-learning communities.

 “The purchase of South Campus has been nothing short of transformational for Lees-McRae,” President Lee King said. “We are indebted to the Bissell and Kopczynski families for their enthusiastic support of The Legacy Campaign and to the many other supporters who have made the college’s current growth possible.”

Because of the success of the Bissell-Kopczynski Challenge and the support of the many donors who have already contributed to The Legacy Campaign, the college is well on the way to completely funding the South Campus purchase. To participate in this historic season of growth for Lees-McRae, visit lmc.edu/give.


By Emily WebbApril 12, 2023