Private giving continues to have a powerful impact on Mississippi State University, and fiscal year 2015 adds one to the record books with more than $109.6 million in gifts and pledges raised. Fiscal year 2015 was the most successful giving year in the university’s 137-year history, as it posted an over $3 million increase from the previous year’s $106.2 million.
Of the total funds raised for MSU in fiscal year 2015, new gifts accounted for more than $48.5 million, while new pledges totaled nearly $25.9 million. A strong year in deferred gifts made up the remaining $35.2 million plus. Also, the proportion of alumni who contributed climbed to nearly 19 percent, ranking MSU above several major peer institutions in that measure of support among former students and keeping the institution well above the national average.
“The generosity of donors sparked the highest giving year in Mississippi State history and marked the second time in our organized fundraising that we’ve experienced back-to-back $100 million plus years,” said John P. Rush, vice president for development and alumni and president and CEO of the MSU Foundation.
He added, “We are deeply grateful to our contributors and we hope to experience this trend in giving for the foreseeable future.”
The successful giving year created a major infusion for Infinite Impact: The Mississippi State University campaign. Since 2010, campaign gift counting has reached more than $586.4 million toward an announced goal of $600 million.
“As we work to secure the amount needed for Infinite Impact, we renew our focus on areas across MSU where gifts are crucial to the university’s mission and its long-range goals,” said Rush. “We are proud of all we have accomplished during Infinite Impact, and we are grateful for our contributors who see the work and impact of MSU as an investment in the future of our world.”
There is still time for supporters to extend the MSU impact further. At the midpoint of another fiscal year, alumni and friends should consider various giving avenues with tax advantages. Annual gifts, stock gifts and planned gifts, such as gift annuities and bequests, will count toward the overall campaign goal. Gifts of real estate and timberland through MSU’s Bulldog Properties and The Bulldog Forest programs are also encouraged.
Professional staff members of the MSU Foundation are available to offer personal assistance with gift planning year-round. A complete list of staff members is located at www.msufoundation.com.
• Endowments for faculty positions in cropping systems and agricultural marketing in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences created with gifts can further the university’s impact to reach other nations that often rely on agriculture as their primary source of revenue. Besides the economic impact, the knowledge gained from these areas, along with food safety and crop production, allows countries to feed growing populations. Drawing the best students will take scholarships and graduate assistantships. An investment in these students and their education will allow them to become tomorrow’s responsible leaders.
• An endowment gift for the College of Architecture, Art and Design would give Mississippi an opportunity to become a national leader in design and build, sustainable design, rural economic development and innovative construction practices. The college also seeks an endowment to attract adjunct faculty who are nationally and internationally recognized practicing architects, designers and construction professionals. With an endowment for the Building Construction Science program and a chair to lead the program, MSU can further innovative construction education. Scholarships also are needed for students in all areas of study.
• Uniquely positioned by enrolling more than a quarter of the student body and providing much of the general education requirements, gifts to the College of Arts and Sciences can be leveraged to impact nearly every student who passes through MSU. A Graduate Fellowship program will recruit top graduate students, which directly bolsters not only teaching and research, but also the ability to recruit and retain the very best faculty. Endowed chairs and professorships will further enhance our research productivity and academic stature. World-changing research takes place in the college every day, and gifts make this possible.
• As it marks a century of progress, the College of Business is creating a Wall Street atmosphere where students can learn about a global economy. With gifts, the college can create an enhanced speaker series featuring distinguished alumni and professionals who can provide insight into the global marketplace. Another effort for the college is to develop a new concentration encouraging global thinking and addressing critical topics such as information assurance, cyber security and fraud detection. Funding is needed to initiate this program, which will, in turn, produce graduates prepared to enter these demanding careers.
• MSU can strengthen its stance as a state and national leader in early childhood education with an endowed professor to lead the Early Childhood Institute in the College of Education. The position will assist in developing and providing research-based practices and policy recommendations that promote high quality early childhood development and learning for all young children in Mississippi. Beyond our campus, the College of Education aims to address the needs of rural populations with the creation of a partnership school. With gifts for this project, MSU will serve as a model for teacher education and as a research center for rural education across the nation.
• The future of the engineering profession in the United States is at a critical juncture. Our nation is now producing fewer engineering graduates than competing countries, and the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering must have gifts to provide scholarships and educational opportunities for exceptional degree candidates. The college cultivates these talented students with outreach to K-12 students and teachers. In any given year, thousands of K-12 students interact with the college through science fairs and summer camps, and gifts are needed to continue this exposure. With gifts for critical areas, the college will continue amassing its reputation as one of the top engineering colleges in the nation.
• With Infinite Impact gifts, the College of Forest Resources can develop cutting-edge programs and offer the best all-around educational experience as we teach the next generation to find solutions to utilize precious resources and pursue renewable energy opportunities. The college seeks to endow chairs in large animal management, which includes white-tailed deer, and renewable energy. The large animal management chair will provide research and mentor future leaders in wildlife management while advocating for conservation through hunting. The renewable energy chair, combined with licensed technology, will ensure that MSU continues to be a leader in bioenergy, thus economically impacting our state.
• As one of only 28 accredited veterinary medicine colleges in the United States, and the only one in Mississippi, the College of Veterinary Medicine plays a vital role with daily veterinary care, life-saving surgeries, and pioneering research. Private support can improve the overall learning and research environment for our undergraduate, graduate, veterinary technology, and doctor of veterinary medicine students in the college and its Animal Health Center. Beyond our campus, gifts can help CVM with outreach programs that foster a passion for veterinary medicine in future generations. Further outreach is provided through our mobile veterinary clinics that bring services to communities and give our students hands-on educational experiences through gifts.
• The Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College can further expand academic and study abroad opportunities for the university’s top students through private support. Alumni and friends can increase the number of scholarships for potential selections of prestigious national and international awards such as the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Truman. With gifts, the college can grow through special programs and community service efforts, and implementation of a research and discovery program for middle school students to broaden their horizons.
• MSU Athletics continues its plans to upgrade facilities over time for all 16 NCAA Division I sports programs currently offered by the university. Planned projects in need of gifts include the renovation and expansion of Polk-DeMent Stadium at Dudy Noble Field to modernize the complex to keep baseball play at the highest level. Also more gifts are needed for the full completion of the MSU Golf Practice Facility located at Old Waverly Golf Club and for extensive work on the A. J. Pitts Tennis Centre and Softball Complex. Gifts for these projects will help MSU ensure facilities for all sports remain top-notch. And, most importantly, gifts can help student-athletes excel in the classroom and in the field of competition.
• MSU-Meridian is seeking to expand its current recruiting efforts by using scholarships to recruit students who seek to pursue degrees in one of the main divisions of Arts and Sciences, Business and Education. With a regional need for a well-prepared workforce in healthcare services, the university can be a frontrunner in eastern Mississippi and western Alabama for medical education and research endeavors. By securing campaign gifts, MSU-Meridian will be able to expand its educational offerings and meet this critical need.
• The University Libraries will continue to pursue inclusion with the Association of Research Libraries and place an emphasis on facilities and technology. For Mitchell Memorial Library, gifts can help expand and renovate the Instructional Media Center, refurbish the electronic classroom and auditorium, and place additional technology in the John Grisham Room, named for the MSU alumnus and best-selling author. The library is also working to house more collections in the humanities.
The MSU Foundation offers many ways to have an immediate impact on the university’s goals and create a lasting impact for tomorrow. Contributors should consider:
• Outright gifts
• Matching gifts from employers
• Gift annuities
• Gifts of personal property and real estate
• Gifts of stocks, bonds and other securities
Special videos and progress reports for Infinite Impact may be found at infiniteimpactmsu.com. Individuals can discuss the best way to impact MSU by contacting Jack McCarty, executive director of development for the MSU Foundation, at 662.325.7000 or email email@example.com. Any contribution to MSU from now through 2018, regardless of the designation, is a commitment to Infinite Impact.
Story by Amy Cagle