INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner kicked off a ten-city campaign in support of United Methodist-related Africa University Sunday afternoon, Sept. 15, at the Columbia City United Methodist Church. All the rallies will be held on Sunday afternoons. Other cities where the rallies will be held include: Linden (Sept. 29), LaPorte (Oct. 13), Greensburg (Oct. 20), Indianapolis (Oct. 27), Muncie (Nov. 3), Kokomo (Nov. 17), Dayton (Nov. 24), New Albany (Dec. 1) and Evansville (Dec. 8). Visit www.inumc.org/au for more location information. (See page 2.)
The AU Campaign rallies speakers include Coyner, the Rev. Bill Keith, a recently retired pastor and chair of the campaign committee, an AU student or graduate and Hoosier United Methodists who have visited or helped fund AU. A short video and still pictures featuring AU are being shown during the 90-minute celebration of the university and its unique role in African life.
AU welcomes students from all nations of Africa without regard to race, class, ethnicity or political and religious affiliation and is located in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
The Indiana Annual Conference Session approved on June 6 the Africa University finance campaign to endow a Chair of Agriculture and Natural Resources and at least four annual student scholarships by raising $1.6 million in the next three years across the Indiana Conference.
The Indiana Friends of Africa University have already pledged $100,000 to the campaign. Maple Grove UMC of South Bend (40 average attendance) gave $1,000 June 7 during the annual conference session and have pledged to give $6,000 during the campaign.
All Conference Directors and District Superintendents have pledged to the three-year campaign as well as Bishop Coyner and and his wife, Marsha.
The rallies are being held to acquaint Hoosier United Methodists with the special ministry of Africa University and how it is making a difference in the lives of people across Africa.
Africa is becoming progressively more important in world affairs. Bishop Emilio de Carvalha, the founding Chancellor of Africa University, has stated that the university is “inclusive, pan-African and responds to the main concerns of the African continent.” The need for men and women equipped to lead it is crucial. The very best investment in Africa’s future is the education of its future leaders.
Below is how the AU Campaign will distribute the funds received during the next three years.
AU Endowed Faculty Position in Agriculture & Natural Resources
Goal – $1,000,000
One of Africa’s greatest challenges is developing an efficient, sustainable agricultural industry capable of feeding its people. Malnutrition is an all too common condition. AU is committed to making a significant difference in this struggle. One of the keys to achieving this goal is to increase the number of agriculturally trained individuals ready to become tomorrow’s leaders. To do this, AU must recruit and retain faculty with the vision, dedication and qualifications to instill the vital passion and knowledge. One of the first academic schools created by the University was the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Limited resources make it difficult to be competitive in recruiting and retaining qualified faculty in this school. One way to support this effort is through the creation and funding of an endowed professorship. This provides financial security for AU allowing them to recruit outstanding, committed faculty.
Scholarships for AU Students
Goal – At least $600,000
Scholarships are crucial to help qualified students complete their degrees. More than 90 percent of students enrolled at Africa University receive financial aid. A full scholarship of $5,400 per year includes tuition, books and room and board. One graduate underlined a key reason for the critical financial need of these students “As the youngest of eight children whose parents died in the Liberian War a number of years ago, I could not have attended Africa University without the scholarship I received.”