“Donors give because they want to support the excellence found at SDSU. They know this first campaign will shape the future of our university.”
After an eighth consecutive year of record fundraising, San Diego State University is rapidly approaching the $750-million goal of its first comprehensive campaign.
The Campaign for SDSU raised $107 million in 2015-16, led by planned gifts and endowments supporting scholarships, new faculty positions, entrepreneurship initiatives, athletics and the Pride Center. The Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, scheduled to open in 2018, also received donor support.
“I am grateful to the thousands of alumni, friends, faculty and staff who have stepped forward in support of San Diego State University,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president of University Relations and Development. “Donors give because they want to support the excellence found at SDSU. They know this first campaign will shape the future of our university.”
Planned giving leads the way
New planned gifts and estate gifts rose sharply in 2015-16 to comprise more than 30 percent of the annual total, and this type of support is expected to help double the university’s endowment over the next decade.
Faculty and staff giving also increased significantly from previous years, while major gifts from alumni, mainly in the form of endowments, created increased opportunities for student success.
These include a new position in the Department of Classics and Humanities; a new speaker series in the College of Business Administration; new scholarships for science majors; and new initiatives to expand SDSU’s entrepreneurial ethos across the curriculum.
Endowments provide stable and continuous funding for scholarships, programs, research, athletics, faculty chairs and other endeavors.
“The Campaign for SDSU has enabled us to strengthen academic programs while hiring and retaining high caliber faculty to prepare our students for career success,” said Chukuka S. Enwemeka, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “Philanthropic support is critical to the ability of great universities to reach increasingly higher levels of academic excellence.”
New ways to give
SDSU launched its first crowdfunding platform in July 2015 as another means of supporting the campaign. SDSU Strive raised more than $80,000 for 41 different projects, including SDSU’s Mount Laguna Observatory and the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center.
The 2015-16 fiscal year also saw the expansion of Aztec Proud, created by the Office of Alumni Engagement to develop a culture of philanthropy among current students and build the pipeline for future alumni support.
Aztec Proud raised $46,000—including a $10,000 gift from the SDSU Bookstore—from Class of 2016 donors and $30,000 from fall 2015 incoming freshmen with more than 5,900 students participating in the two initiatives.
The Campaign for SDSU was launched in July 2007 to support the people and programs of the university and to increase the endowment for SDSU’s future. After reaching the initial goal of $500 million in September 2014, SDSU set a new goal of $750 million.
Among many measures of the campaign’s success is the national recognition SDSU has received for four consecutive years from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
In 2016, the university was one of only 20 in the country to receive a CASE award for Sustained Excellence in Educational Fundraising. Other awardees include the University of California, Berkeley, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia and Stanford University.
“The Campaign for SDSU supports our commitment to provide quality academic and co-curricular programs and serve our diverse community of students,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to the many donors whose support is creating the foundation for an enduring and successful university that serves its students and our broader society.”