Venture Forward Transforms Campus

EUGENE, Ore. – In October of 2021, Bushnell University launched an aggressive three-year, $14,000,000 Venture Forward campaign. Because of inflated construction costs and generous early gifts, the campaign goal was raised within months from $14,000,000 to $18,000,000. Through gifts from individuals, families, corporations, and granting agencies, all six projects are nearly funded and are close to finishing the campaign one year early. Even during a pandemic, and on the heels of a successful name change, God inspired the hearts of generous people. As we have said countless times since the bold launch of this effort, “God is great and people are cool.” We have not done any of this alone.


The transformation of the Phoenix Inn into Womack Hall has been fully funded with gifts and pledges and is now finished. Alumni Frank ’66 and Linda (Butler) Morse ’64 provided $1,000,000, along with the privilege of naming the building after President Emeritus James Womack ’63 and his wife Sharron Kay (McCullough) Womack ’63. Many others joined in to help us increase and improve student housing, relocate student life offices, and create a new Welcome Center off Franklin Boulevard.

The 1,900-seat Beacon baseball stadium is now completed at Hamlin Middle School in Eugene. Partnership with Olsson Industrial Electric, Richardson Sports, and the Springfield School District has been instrumental. “Starting Nine” donors gave $50,000 (Joe and Cathleen Karcher, Bruce ’84 and Carol Shelby, Kim and Dale Williams, and the Womack family). “Founders Club” donors gave $25,000 (Mike ’83 and Patty Peterson, and Greg and Sharree Strausbaugh). Beacon baseball has enjoyed two successful seasons.

The Goodrich Hall project is well under way, with a full renovation of the interior and the addition of a bell tower with elevators, bathrooms, bells, and cross. The project is fully funded, thanks in part to an $800,000 grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust and a matching gift from alumni Jim ’64 and Donna (Racine) Pomajevich ’63. Collectively, the Pomajevich family has given just over $3,000,000 to the Venture Forward effort. One of the first gifts to Venture Forward was $500,000 from local friend and philanthropist, the late Doug McKay. The advancement conference room will be named in his honor. All four bells were purchased with donations of $40,000 each from four Bushnell legacy families and named in honor of Ted Baker, Linda McKay Korth, Ada Lee, and the Stewart Family. The project is under way and will be completed in 2024.

Duke Commons is funded, thanks in part to gifts of $5,000,000 from John and Marilyn Duke and $2,250,000 from Jim and Carol Cure. Construction will begin in 2024, with a multipurpose student center on the second floor and a large, modern dining hall on the ground floor. The new dining facilities will be named in honor of the Helseth and Wells families, Carol Cure’s family legacy ties to the University. Friends of the University George and Peggy Gittins have contributed $150,000 toward construction and an appropriate space will be named in their honor.

The Song Nai Rhee Honors Program is almost fully-funded by generous families who are committed to our ever-improving academic experience and reputation, including members of the extended Rhee and Womack families and many alumni who were impacted by the service of Dr. Rhee.

The Accelerated Nursing Program has been partially funded and launched. The recent opportunity to double our enrollment came with state accreditation and the offer of a space donation of 11,000 square feet by PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District. You will read more about the exciting future of our School of Nursing and emerging College of Health Professions in the next few pages and the Spring 2024 issue of The Beacon.


We will publicly celebrate the success of Venture Forward on campus during Founders Day (October 15) with students, visiting parents, staff, faculty, alumni, Board of Trustees members, and donors. We will announce our final campaign totals at our annual Evening of Tribute: The Beacon Awards on November 16.

If you and your family have not yet had the chance to be included in this historic fundraising effort, we encourage you to send in your contribution by November 15. Gifts and pledges received by December 31 will be included in the totals, and any gift or pledge over $1,000 will be publicly recognized on campus for historic acknowledgment.

Over the last few years, we’ve been graced by generous people of means who have been able to make culture-changing gifts. But please imagine how much farther and faster our mission advances if all Beacon alumni and friends join hands in this Venture. Generosity is the work of every heart. And every Beacon in our history has been educated and served, to great measure, by the generosity of those who have gone before them. Please pray about joining this effort or giving again to help us finish strong. The University is thankful to soon put a bow on the efforts of Venture Forward.


In finishing Venture Forward early, the University will move our consolidated efforts into the urgent need to educate and graduate nurses and other healthcare workers for our region and for the world. PeaceHealth and other health agencies are joining in this shared effort to meet a crucial need.

You will soon hear about our vision to expand our entire College of Health Professions. The recent expansion of our School of Nursing and the explosive growth of and demand for clinical counseling programs have helped establish Bushnell as a leader in preparing individuals for futures in healthcare. There are many other pressing needs in our state and region which inspire us to think more broadly as we prepare Beacons to serve in these ways.

Watch for our Spring 2024 announcement in The Beacon magazine about our next God-sized dream, Venture Further.


Architectural rendering of Duke Commons

Architectural rendering of Duke Commons

Construction of bell tower next to Goodrich Hall

Construction of bell tower next to Goodrich Hall

Song Nai Rhee, Honoros program namesake, fosters academic excellence and mentorship, warmly engaging with students.

Honoros namesake Song Nai Rhee interacts with students

Bushnell's Inaugural ABSN Cohort at Commencement

Bushnell's Inaugural ABSN Cohort at Commencement

Behind home plate at Bushnell Beacons baseball field, a collaborative venture with Springfield

Behind home plate at Bushnell Beacons baseball field

Womack Hall, one of Bushnell's primary campus buildings

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