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The Campaign for MSU: Its place in MSU's history

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The Campaign for MSU is clearly the high point of private fundraising at Michigan State University. MSU has arrived at this historic time through a combination of the generosity of individuals and organizations and the collective effort of every campus unit, administrator and volunteer both on campus and around the country. To fully understand the context of The Campaign for MSU, consider the history of private philanthropy at the university.

There are examples of early gifts to MSU that perhaps set the stage for what was to come. Frank S. Kedzie, who served as the university?s eighth president from 1915 to 1921, is recognized as the driving force behind early alumni involvement. In his first year as president, he encouraged alumni contributions and student pledges to construct the Union Memorial Building, built a decade later. During Kedzie's presidency, R. E. Olds gave $100,000 toward the construction of Olds Hall, a new engineering hall to replace the engineering building that burned down on the same site. It was the first private donation toward a campus building. Then there is the historic contribution of John W. Beaumont. With a desire to build a tower on the site of the old College Hall, the first building on campus, Beaumont, a successful lawyer and MAC graduate, funded the construction of the tower entirely through personal donations. Completed in 1928, Beaumont Tower now stands as one of the most beloved symbols of MSU.

In the 1960s, MSU realized the need to establish a more formal process to coordinate private gifts, providing alumni and friends of the university a resource through which donations could be directed. While these beginnings were relatively modest, by the 1980s there were enough donors willing to support MSU that the university launched its first official capital campaign called MSU2000. The goal of the campaign was set at $160 million, and scores of generous donors pushed the final tally to more than $217 million.

Fast forward to 2002 when MSU announced what was the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. After quietly raising funds from leadership donors, The Campaign for MSU formally kicked into high gear with a goal of $1.2 billion. Sub goals of $450 million for endowment and $250 million in documented planned gifts were set. Would the alumni and friends of MSU take the campaign to heart and reach these lofty goals? The answer was a resounding YES!

Each and every category of giving rose dramatically during the course of the campaign. It has been an unprecedented achievement, bringing to MSU resources needed to triumph in a multitude of areas. Individually, all gifts given during The Campaign for MSU have had a positive impact on students, faculty, facilities and research efforts. Collectively, these same contributions have transformed MSU and the culture of giving that exists here.

A total of $1,438,894,789 was raised between July 1, 1999 and Sept. 30, 2007. MSU surpassed its $250 million planned gift goal, raising $346.6 million during this campaign. The endowment goal of $450 million was perhaps the most significant stretch goal set during The Campaign for MSU. A total of $476.1 million was raised for this purpose.

For the five-year period prior to campaign kickoff, the average annual amount raised by MSU was just under $80.5 million. In addition, only 30% of our annual gifts were from alumni and other individuals. During this campaign period, the average annual amount raised by MSU has nearly doubled, and the percent of support from alumni and friends has grown to nearly 50% of the total dollars raised.

At the start of the campaign, MSU had a total of 1,209 planned gifts documented with a future value of just over $190 million. By the close of the campaign, that amount had grown to more than 1,650 planned gifts documented with a value of nearly $500 million in future support. Finally, in the university's history prior to the campaign, MSU had received 118 gifts of $1 million or more. During The Campaign for MSU alone, more than 200 gifts of $1 million or more were documented with a cumulative total of nearly $700 million.

As of July 1, 1999, MSU's net endowment portfolio was valued at $488 million, ranking at the bottom of the Big Ten in endowment size. Coupled with exceptional investment management by the Office of Investments & Financial Management, the generosity of donors has resulted in MSU now being ranked 7 of 11 among the Big Ten in endowment size.

Faculty, staff and retirees of MSU have always been generous donors to the university, but during the campaign, giving reached new record highs. In the end, more than $85 million - or 6% of the total - was given by those closest to the work being accomplished at MSU.

This has truly been an historic time at Michigan State University, as the entire MSU family embraced The Campaign for MSU with enthusiasm. Donors have enabled MSU to experience a transformation, and in the future, everyone touched in some way by the accomplishments of this great university can thank those who achieved these incredible results.