The Transylvania Fund makes a difference for today’s students

Interim President John WIlliams

As a student (’74), trustee, spouse and son of Pioneers, I am well acquainted with everything the Transy experience means, its lifelong impact and the way it reverberates professionally and personally.

One of my first ceremonies as interim president was the induction of the Class of 2023. I can’t tell you the joy I felt in welcoming these promising students to campus and into Transylvania’s academic tradition and its family, which includes nearly 15,000 alumni around the world. If only you could have seen their unbound potential, as I did.

In the coming year, our goal is to share some of these students’ stories with you. They may feel reminiscent of your own college experience, or strikingly different as they prepare for life in the coming decades. That sense of tradition and newness represents Transylvania to the core.

Above all, I want you to know that the lives and achievements that are unfolding on campus and in our community are a direct result of your gifts to the annual fund, which is now known as The Transylvania Fund. At heart, it underscores the Pioneer way of passing on the light.

The impact of gifts made to The Transylvania Fund is clear. For instance, Transy’s status continues to rise in national ratings. We’ve recently been ranked:

  • One of the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the nation for promoting public service as highlighted in Washington Monthly magazine;
  • Among the Best Value Schools, which comes on the heels of similar honors from The Wall Street Journal and Kiplinger’s, highlighting how Transylvania provides a quality education at a reasonable price;
  • 50th in the new Top Performers on Social Mobility rating, which takes into consideration how well schools graduate students receiving Pell Grants — the majority of these funds are awarded to families with a total income below $20,000; and
  • 72nd in the country in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings of the nation’s top liberal arts schools.

Also, exceptional students are able to attend because of scholarships funded by you — alumni, family and friends. Of the more than 98% of our students depending on our financial help, 18% are from households with annual resources below $40,000.

My wife, Lucy Sims Williams ’74, and I are excited to be back on campus and serving our beloved alma mater. We look forward to getting to know you and working together to engage the extended Transylvania family. In the meantime, let’s celebrate this remarkable tradition that means so much to each of us.

Please accept our thanks for the support you bring, and know that we welcome your thoughts and ideas for making Transy an even more vibrant academic community in the years ahead.