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02-06-13-methodist.gifMethodist University’s Loyalty Day is rooted in a tradition of local sup-port older than the school itself. Before the then-named Methodist College opened in 1960, local leaders gathered donations for a small, private, liber-al-arts college that would be built in Fayetteville.

“The institution owes its very founding to community leaders who believed in the philosophy of university-community partnerships,” said President Ben Hancock. “Loyalty Day is rooted in a longstanding tradition of com-munity support, and it provides an opportunity to highlight the promise we make to every new student who comes through our gate that he or she will receive an exceptional education. We are grateful the community is enhancing our ‘culture of ex-cellence,’ as there has never been a great university with-out a great community.”

In 1956, the Fayetteville College Foundation, later renamed the Methodist University Foundation, pledged to raise $50,000 annually. For most years, the second Tuesday in February has served as Loyalty Day, this community fundraiser. This year’s Loyalty Day will be Feb. 12, 2013.

Many families have supported Loyalty Day through successive genera-tions. This year’s Loyalty Day chair, Cumberland County Register of Deeds J. Lee Warren Jr., class of ‘75, is a second-generation supporter.

“I remember my father writing a check every year to Methodist,” Warren said. “This was prior to my decision to even attend Methodist. … like all the rest of the community members, he was trying to support the institution.”

Years later, Warren would also be a Loyalty Day volunteer.

“Early on, it was geared toward going out into the community and mak-ing your visits, and they actually did do that on Loyalty Day. But I was never one for waiting to the last minute to do something. I liked to have a lot of mine in hand prior to the day.”

The Office of Institutional Advancement estimates that more than 550 locals have served on the Foundation since it formed, with thousands more volunteers.

Kickoff events have often been held, such as at the Chamber of Commerce’s Coffee Club meeting. Another tradition is a mayoral proclama-tion, recognizing Loyalty Day in the City of Fayetteville. One change was in 2005, when the focus of Loyalty Day shifted to scholarships.

Loyalty Day volunteer, alumna and retired MU em-ployee Lynn Clark started volunteering in the mid-1980s. To her, Loyalty Day is just as much about the Fayetteville community as the university.

“Methodist was very much meant to be a community-oriented college, and that association has continued,” Clark said.

As the University grows and evolves, the Loyalty Day tradition remains strong. While the school’s reputation has traveled around the world, its roots are still deep in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

“Methodist has, of course, grown,” Clark said. “But in growing, it has also grown in its appeal to a lot of people. We have sent out excellent graduates all over the world. They represent Cumberland County well. People realize that it’s not the little college down Raleigh Road anymore.”

For more information on Loyalty Day, please contact Krista Lee at 910.630.7169 or klee@methodist.edu.

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