The Legacy Campaign

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Thanks to the inspiring support of our devoted alumni and donors, The Legacy Campaign for South Campus has gained tremendous momentum. In addition to doubling our campus footprint to more than 1,000 acres and adding 104,000 square feet for classrooms and much needed student housing, the acquisition of the Grandfather Home for Children property has significant long-term benefits for the college and the greater High Country community including:

  • Expansion of distinctive academic programs and co-curricular offerings such as Wildlife Biology and Rehabilitation, Outdoor Recreation Management, and Hospitality and Tourism. 
  • Increased opportunities for experiential learning and research that supports the stewardship of rare and diverse environmental resources. 
  • Ongoing promise of ecologically based revenue streams, including conservation banks and other protective easements. 

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT

In an unprecedented show of support, Ed and Dotti Shelton of Charlotte, North Carolina accelerated their commitment to The Legacy Campaign with a $1.5 million match for all campaign gifts received by December 31, 2023. The Sheltons are treasured members of the Lees-McRae community serving as leaders and dedicated philanthropists to the college and its mission.

Join the Sheltons in their incredible show of faith and support in the future of Lees-McRae by making a gift that will be matched to The Legacy Campaign.

The Legacy Campaign | Shelton Family Gift Announcement

"This story does not have an end. The physical expansion in all departments and the adaptation to changing needs…present a new and different picture from the beginning days. Yet, like an Olympic fire, the flame of service still glows here In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, For the Mountains."

Margaret Tufts Neal
And Set Aglow a Sacred Flame

GROWTH

The acquisition of Grandfather Home for Children has significantly increased the long-time financial vitality of the college. Our Master Plan has been updated to reflect the lasting impact the addition of South Campus has to our enrollment goals and our commitment to embrace our distinctive programs and unique experiential learning outdoor lab space, while preserving this precious national resource.

GROWTH

The acquisition of Grandfather Home for Children has significantly increased the long-time financial vitality of the college. Our Master Plan has been updated to reflect the lasting impact the addition of South Campus has to our enrollment goals and our commitment to embrace our distinctive programs and unique experiential learning outdoor lab space, while preserving this precious national resource.

EXPERIENTIAL

Lees-McRae is a leader in offering students meaningful experiential learning programs. Our strategic plan calls for the expansion of academic programs that embrace our niche, namely our commitment to be in, of, and for the mountains. For example, we will expand our popular and utterly unique Wildlife Biology and Rehabilitation programs to meet the demand of incoming students and also create Living-and-Learning Communities so students with common interests and goals can learn and grow together. 

EXPERIENTIAL

Lees-McRae is a leader in offering students meaningful experiential learning programs. Our strategic plan calls for the expansion of academic programs that embrace our niche, namely our commitment to be in, of, and for the mountains. For example, we will expand our popular and utterly unique Wildlife Biology and Rehabilitation programs to meet the demand of incoming students and also create Living-and-Learning Communities so students with common interests and goals can learn and grow together. 

CONSERVATION

One of the most important benefits of the expansion campus is that we now own over 460 acres of ecologically diverse and rare land that will forever be protected. We now have the opportunity to utilize the benefits of conversation easements which will also contribute to the long-term financial stability of the college.

CONSERVATION

One of the most important benefits of the expansion campus is that we now own over 460 acres of ecologically diverse and rare land that will forever be protected. We now have the opportunity to utilize the benefits of conversation easements which will also contribute to the long-term financial stability of the college.

Take an aerial tour of the new South Campus

South Campus Aerial Tour

By reuniting these properties, we can uphold Rev. Tufts’ mission to educate and serve this mountain community and care for the environmental resources he loved. This acquisition also fulfills many vital strategic priorities for Lees-McRae, allowing the college to expand its scope and offer more opportunities to students and local residents.

Lees-McRae College and Grandfather Home for Children are bound together through common history, and they share the same foundational bedrock. These entities are a testament to the work of Rev. Edgar Tufts and his son Edgar H. Tufts, representing their love for education, community, and service.

Grandfather Home was once an extension of the educational work at the school. In 1914, Rev. Tufts acquired the Maple Meadows farm and established a refuge for mountain children who had no homes of their own. Many of these children completed their schooling at Lees-McRae. After Rev. Tufts death, the organizational assets of Lees-McRae College, Grandfather Home for Children, and Cannon Memorial Hospital were merged under the ownership of the Edgar Tufts Memorial Association (ETMA). In 1957, the ETMA deeded 427 acres to Grandfather Home, and this conveyance makes up the bulk of the property now owned by the college.

The Legacy Campaign

Our most ambitious fundraising endeavor secures a legacy for generations to come.