Thursday, December 8, 2016

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The Campaign for SDSU is transforming the campus and propelling students to success.

$400 Million Raised for SDSU Success

The Campaign for SDSU is transforming the campus and propelling students to success.
By Coleen Geraghty

With more than 41,000 gifts from alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents and community partners, The Campaign for SDSU now totals more than $400 million, marking the strongest period of fundraising in San Diego State University’s history. SDSU’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign was launched as a way to create new opportunities for student success and to help SDSU continue to develop as a leading public research university.

The gift that pushed the campaign past this milestone was a $250,000 donation by Union Bank to SDSU’s Guardian Scholars program, which provides foster youth, as well as those who have been homeless, with a comprehensive, holistic support program to help them achieve the goal of a college degree.

“We are thrilled to be able to support San Diego State in reaching this milestone,” said Mary Curran, executive vice president of Union Bank and SDSU alumnus. “The campaign really energizes people, providing resources that help to enrich student lives and develop future leaders. At Union Bank, we believe a great way to invest in our community and into a strong and vibrant San Diego, is by giving to San Diego State.”

Launched in 2007, the campaign has benefited from 76 gifts of $1 million or more. It has included more than $200 million for SDSU’s eight colleges to establish faculty endowments and support academic programming. Another $55 million in gifts support students through scholarships, internships and research opportunities.

"Crossing the $400 million milestone is a tribute to the extraordinary generosity of our alumni and community supporters,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. “The campaign has already had a transformational effect on our campus and there is great momentum as we advance to our goal of $500 million. My deepest appreciation goes to all of the members of our campus community who have helped the campaign move forward."

SDSU faculty and staff have also been pillars of the campaign, contributing nearly 10 percent of the total raised so far.

New resources

In the last year alone, The Campaign for SDSU has announced:

Building the endowment

Donor generosity has also enabled San Diego State to build its endowment, defined as philanthropic gifts of cash and securities invested to support future academic programs, faculty research and student scholarships. More than 100 newly endowed faculty positions, academic programs and student scholarships have been established in the last five years.

“The importance of a healthy endowment cannot be overstated,” said Kit Sickels, chair of the Campanile Foundation. “The best universities have large endowments that allow them to move to the next level of excellence and provide transformational education for future generations of students.”

Best and brightest

Raising funds for student scholarships was a priority of The Campaign for SDSU from the very beginning. Strong donor support for this initiative has resulted in more than $55 million in new scholarship funding, and university remains committed to providing financial help for qualified students who cannot afford college tuition and fees.

Additionally, the campaign makes it possible for SDSU to offer more scholarships to students at the top of their high school classes based on GPA and SAT scores. Many of these “best and brightest” students will be invited to apply to the University Honors Program, which is set to expand its numbers and programming thanks to campaign funds.

"Receiving a best and brightest scholarship has allowed me to stay local, caring for my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Kristin Bala, a first-year student majoring in cellular and molecular biology. Bala’s goal is to become a physician in San Diego, aiding the local community.  “I am so appreciative of the donors and the opportunities their philanthropy has provided," she said.

Supporting excellence

Closely aligned with the campaign is a new strategic plan for SDSU, Building on Excellence, which establishes the direction and priorities of the university for the next 36-48 months.

The plan is the culmination of a months-long, consultative process involving students, faculty, staff, alumni and the San Diego community.

Through specific initiatives spelled out in the plan and supported by campaign funds, SDSU will advance student success, accelerate research and creative endeavors and enlarge its role as a center of community life and engagement.

Alumni engagement

As the campaign moves to within striking distance of its $500-million goal, the university is urging all SDSU alumni to become part of its success.

“Every Aztec, Any Amount, Every Year” is our call to SDSU’s nearly 280,000 alumni,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president for University Relations and Development. “The success of The Campaign for SDSU will be measured not only in dollars raised, but also in the commitment of every alumnus to building a stronger university for future Aztecs.”

To learn more about The Campaign for SDSU, visit