MSU board approves $1.2 billion goal for history-making capital campaign

Contact: Bob Thomas, University Development, (517) 353-3121, Ext. 411; or Deb Pozega Osburn, University Relations, (517) 355-2281

Sep 20, 2002

"Advancing Knowledge. Transforming Lives."
theme builds on excellence, funds future initiatives

EAST LANSING, Mich. - With acknowledgement of past excellence and a firm commitment to future initiatives, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees today approved a $1.2 billion capital campaign intended to build on MSU's traditions while empowering initiatives for the 21st century.

The history-making fund-raising goal will be announced to the campus community at 4 p.m. today at Wharton Center for Performing Arts during a kickoff ceremony for the public phase of the campaign. It is the first capital campaign since 1988 for MSU, which became one of fewer than 20 universities nationwide to undertake a $1.2 billion fund-raising campaign.

"The success of this capital campaign will endow Michigan State University with the financial resources to realize a vision that honors those who worked, studied, taught and conducted research at MSU throughout its history," MSU President Peter McPherson said. "It acknowledges their achievements. At the same time, it equips us to anticipate the changing needs of our faculty, our students and our world."

The theme of the campaign - "Advancing Knowledge. Transforming Lives." - is particularly appropriate at a time when the world is rapidly changing, said Vice President for University Development Charles Webb.

"This campaign truly is transformational," Webb said. "It builds on our excellence to set the tone for MSU in the next decade and well into the future. It is a collaborative and collegial effort representing all the colleges and administrative units with significant leadership from the deans.

"I truly believe this campaign will empower this great university to become even greater," he said.

Programs and initiatives throughout the university's mission will benefit from the campaign, as will facilities and infrastructures. A major goal: to increase MSU's endowment from its current level of $810 million to more than $1 billion by the end of the campaign. Endowments are permanent funds invested to provide income for specified purposes, providing for a level of quality that state funding alone can't offer as well as insulating the university from inevitable economic cycles.

"The entire university, and the communities in which it has an impact, benefit from a strong endowment," said Lou Anna K. Simon, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "In seeking to maintain and build academic quality, we seek to enhance opportunities for outstanding faculty and ambitious students to achieve their aspirations and for the university to have a greater impact on society. A strong endowment provides for those opportunities."

The university embarked on the silent phase of the campaign in July 1999. The campaign continues in its public phase for five more years.

The announcement of the public phase and overall goal of the campaign came just two weeks after MSU announced its seventh consecutive record-setting year in fund raising. Total gifts to the university for fiscal year 2001-02, including current (cash and in-kind gifts) and planned gifts, grew 4.5 percent from last year to a total of $211.6 million. In 2000-01, the university broke the $200 million mark for the first time with $202 million in total gifts.

In organizing the campaign, President McPherson consulted with a number of individuals recognized for their ongoing support of the university.

Co-chairpersons of his 62-member campaign cabinet are Dolores Cook, MSU trustee; Patricia Geoghegan, partner in the New York City law firm of Cravath, Swaine and Moore; Lynn Myers, general manager of the Pontiac and GMC divisions of General Motors; Randall Pittman, MSU trustee and chair and chief executive officer of Chatham Capital Corp. and Forest Health Services Corp.; Glenn Schafer, president of Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co.; Gary Seevers, retired, limited partner for Goldman Sachs; Steve Smith, who plays for the National Basketball Association's San Antonio Spurs; and Kenneth Way, chairperson of the Lear Corp.

Honorary co-chairpersons are Pauline Adams, professor emerita of American thought and language and first lady emerita; Eli Broad, chairperson of SunAmerica Inc. and founder-chairperson of KB Home; James Cornelius, chairperson of the board of Guidant Corp.; John and Nancy DiBiaggio, MSU president emeritus and first lady emerita; Gordon Guyer, MSU president emeritus; Cecil and Clare Mackey, MSU president emeritus and first lady emerita; Russell Mawby, retired from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and MSU trustee emeritus; John McConnell, chairperson emeritus and founder of Worthington Industries; and Clifton and Dolores Wharton, MSU president emeritus and first lady emerita.

The president also worked with a campuswide advisory committee that included deans, administrators, faculty and others. The campaign involves the entire university, with individual colleges moving forward to achieve their own goals as part of the universitywide effort.

"The preparation for the capital campaign has been energizing," said Janie Fouke, dean of the College of Engineering and a member of the advisory group. "We have directed much-needed attention to developing the infrastructure required to support the escalated contact between MSU and its friends. Now we are set to roll up our sleeves for the work ahead."

"Private support gives us that needed competitive edge," said Wendy Wilkins, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, who also is on the advisory committee. "We look forward to continuing to work with our alumni and other friends to achieve capital campaign success."

The commitment to excellence and success from the deans and volunteers throughout the country is important to the campaign's success, said Marti Heil, assistant vice president for university development.

"The capital campaign has been totally embraced by voluntary chairpersons and alumni who are enthusiastic to be a part of MSU history," Heil said. "Our academic leaders know that we all will work together to help assure the excellence of their programs and initiatives as they meet the needs of the future.

For details on the campaign, check out

The capital campaign is a concerted multi-year fund-raising initiative designed to raise private money for all units within MSU.