Africa University gets help from non-church groups as well as United Methodist Church

An aerial view of  the central area of the campus of Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe

An aerial view of the central area of the campus of Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe

Approximately 25 years after the founding of Africa University in Zimbabwe, the school has received help through nearly 50 partnerships with government.

While the new partnerships are important, James H. Salley, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement, said: “The university owes its existence and incredible growth to the support of the United Methodist Church—support that is still crucial.”

The university has always received strong financial support from the church through the apportionment fund, special campaigns by annual conferences, individual donors, and more. Salley heads the development office in Nashville.

“The prayers and the gifts the United Methodist churches are investing in the Campaign for Africa University, an effort to raise $50 million for endowed scholarships, new program initiatives, and capital projects, will certainly strengthen the university’s role in shaping Africa’s future through changed lives and communities. There are a growing number of friends and supporters.”

However, there are a growing number of friends and supporters who are not church-related, but are still a boon to the institution’s pan-African mission, according to Andra Stevens, the director of communications for the Africa University Development Office. Africa University is a good fit for many different types of organizations. Some of those are quite large, such as the United States Agency for International Development and Chevron, a multinational energy corporation active in more than 180 countries. Others are smaller companies that have developed relationships with university staff.

Patrick Patterson, who leads the Hansens’ Vikings Scholarship Fund, said the expectation is that Africa University continues to deliver the outstanding results that they have achieved through exceptional professors and educational programs.

The desire to address financial barriers to higher education is only part of what motivates Africa University’s partners.