Landmark giving year ushers in growth, impact for MSU

The university’s ongoing capital campaign known as Infinite Impact has become a driving force behind record years of giving for Mississippi State University. At the close of FY 2014, an overwhelming $106 million was contributed by alumni and friends marking the highest giving year in school history.

For the 2014 year, the 136 year-old land-grant institution attracted the record in private gifts and pledges of future support–an overwhelming $25 million more than the prior year’s $81.3 million total. Previously, MSU’s largest giving year on record took place in fiscal year 2012 when more than $86 million was raised.

“The visionary individuals and organizations who are investing their resources in the future of this institution and the people it serves recognize the vital role that Mississippi State plays in the life of the state and region,” said President Mark E. Keenum. “It is with deep appreciation that we accept these contributions to benefit life on our campus and improve life for people around the globe through our endeavors as an institution.”

“By any measure, fiscal year 2014 was a remarkable year for Mississippi State,” said John P. Rush, vice president for development and alumni who also serves as MSU Foundation CEO. “We greatly appreciate the generosity of alumni and friends that is translating into a powerful impact within our university and well beyond our state’s borders as these gifts pave the way for our university to have a greater influence on a national scale.”

Rush said the record year also bodes well for the university’s ongoing capital campaign.

Mississippi State is in the midst of the largest comprehensive campaign in school history to secure $600 million in gifts for its long-range goals. Since campaign counting began in fiscal year 2010, the multi-year endeavor has reached in excess of $434 million raised.

All gifts to MSU through fiscal year 2018 will be part of the campaign.

For the 2014 fiscal year, alumni participation at Mississippi State held steady, Rush observed, adding that the proportion of alumni contributing during the year was a solid 18 percent. This constant level has enabled MSU to maintain its ranking ahead of several major peer institutions in the measure of support among former students, he added.

The number also keeps MSU well above the 10.2 percent national average of this measure, according to the fundraising statistics of higher education institutions published by the 2013 Voluntary Support of Education annual report.

Rush thanked the supporters, saying that Mississippi State “is extremely proud of the proportion of alumni who gave in FY 14. The faith these former students continue to show in the institution and the value these individuals place on their MSU education will help us grow our donor base over time.”

  • Highlights of the 2014 year-end gifts, among others, included:
  • A grant from the Lauderdale County-based Riley Foundation that will enable the new Division of Education at MSU-Meridian to begin a kinesiology program at its downtown campus.

  • A lead gift toward construction of a new campus facility for the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans that will be paired with other gifts currently being sought by university fundraisers.

  • A cornerstone contribution to aid construction and startup costs for a partnership school that will be a joint venture between MSU and the soon-to-be consolidated Starkville-Oktibbeha County School District. The partnership will create sixth and seventh grades for research on rural education that will serve as a demonstration model for current students and educators in the state and nation. Fundraising continues for this venture.

  • Gifts will assist MSU athletics in making the Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point the new home to Mississippi State men’s and women’s varsity golf programs. The Bulldog Club, the private fundraising arm of Mississippi State Athletics, has partnered with Old Waverly on a project that includes a driving range, short-game area, putting green, plus a team clubhouse and indoor hitting bays.

  • A commitment to construct a new engineering and science building to house the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering’s civil and environmental engineering department.

  • Gifts that support numerous new annual and endowed scholarships university-wide. Some examples include additional Presidential Endowed
  • Scholarships that expand MSU’s efforts to attract top students; additional Compass Scholarships to assist solid-performing students in any academic area; and additional funds for the MSU Promise program that assists students with potential who are Mississippi residents with family incomes $30,000 and below.

  • Several endowed positions to be established from separate gifts, including a chair in engineering with a focus on petroleum- and energy-related study, a professorship in equine health, and a professorship in business, among others.

  • A lead gift to construct an Olympic sports facility on the Starkville campus.

Other gifts from the record year will create excellence funds in colleges and schools, help bring to fruition the Davis Wade Stadium expansion and provide a steady stream of annual support across campus.

Most of the institution’s fundraising is conducted by the MSU Foundation that was established in 1962 to help attract support from private sources. The university’s current endowment stands at more than $450 million.

MSU’s special Infinite Impact campaign flipbooks and videos are now available at infiniteimpactmsu.com at your leisure and learn about how our institution can make a world of difference with private support.