MSU Board approves $1.5 billion goal for capital campaign

Contact: Tom Oswald, Media Communications: (517) 432-0920, cell (517) 281-7129, tom.oswald@cabs.msu.edu; Bob Groves, vice president for University Advancement: (517) 884-1003, grovesr@msu.edu

Oct 24, 2014

With acknowledgement of past excellence and a firm commitment to future initiatives, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees today approved a $1.5 billion capital campaign intended to build on MSU's traditions while empowering critical initiatives for the 21st century.

The history-making fundraising goal will be publicly announced to the campus community at 5 p.m. today at Wharton Center for Performing Arts during a kickoff ceremony for the public phase of the campaign. It is MSU’s first capital campaign since 2007.

“The upcoming campaign is a historic opportunity to assure that innovation and opportunity will continue to thrive at MSU, not just for us today, but for future generations,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “The tremendous support we have received over the last three years has positioned us perfectly for the public launch of the universitywide capital campaign, which in turn will empower MSU to make unimaginable discoveries that impact all our lives while also preparing new generations of game-changing Spartans.”

The university embarked on the silent phase of the campaign in July 2011. To date, more than $780 million have been raised in gift commitments.

The theme of the campaign—"Empower Extraordinary"—is particularly appropriate at a time when the world needs engines of opportunity, said Vice President for University Advancement Bob Groves.

"I truly believe this campaign will empower this great university to become even greater," Groves said. "It builds on our excellence to set the tone for MSU in the next decade and well into the future. Every gift contributes and we are tremendously grateful to the many donors who are invested in helping MSU be the most extraordinary university of its kind.”

Programs and initiatives throughout the university's mission will benefit from the campaign, as will facilities and infrastructure. A major goal: To double MSU’s number of endowed chairs and professorships, which, currently at 100, is among the smallest in the Big Ten. Endowed chairs and professorships are the gold standard of faculty distinction and recognition for academic institutions.

"MSU faculty have an enormous impact on the university, the state and the world through their research, teaching and outreach," said MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt. "To have an even greater impact on society, we need to enhance our ability to attract and retain the best faculty. Top-tier scholars help students find their life’s work, conduct groundbreaking research and attract grant funding to advance the university’s mission. Endowed positions give our deans a powerful means to recruit the next generation of MSU faculty.”

The announcement of the public phase and overall goal of the campaign came on the heels of a record-setting year in fundraising for MSU. Total gifts to the university for fiscal year 2013-14, including current cash and planned gifts, grew 15 percent from the previous year to more than $238 million.

Support from private foundations to the university also grew by 99 percent as compared to the previous year, from $34.5 million to $69 million, while support from groups, associations and other organizations grew by 36 percent, from $12.2 million to $16.7 million.

The value of MSU's endowment topped $2 billion for the first time in the 2013 fiscal year. The balance of the endowment is held in numerous funds designated for scholarships, faculty recruitment and support, research and other functions. Michigan State's policy is to spend about 5 percent of the five-year-average value of its endowment funds annually.

In organizing the campaign, Simon consulted with a number of individuals recognized for their ongoing support of the university. Co-chairpersons of her 29-member campaign cabinet are Dolores Cook, former MSU trustee, and Bob Skandalaris, founder and CEO of Quantum Ventures of Michigan, LLC.

The president also worked with 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.

“Michigan State’s fundraising success is due to support from alumni and friends of the university, as well as to an aggressive fundraising strategy that includes many initiatives by the university’s academic and administrative leaders,” said Simon. “The capital campaign has been totally embraced by volunteers and alumni who are enthusiastic to be a part of MSU history.”

For details on the campaign, visit empower.msu.edu.