INFINITE IMPACT: Capitalizing on opportunity and reclaiming ambition

Mississippi State leaders announce a historic fundraising goal of $1 billion by 2020. Joining in the announcement were (from left) John P. Rush, vice president for development and alumni; President Mark E. Keenum; Earnie Deavenport, chair of the MSU Foundation board of directors; Mickey Holliman, Bulldog Club president; Natalie Jones, Mississippi’s only 2016 Truman Scholar and Moore Presidential Scholar; Ron Black, National Alumni Association president; Cody Coyne, Faculty Senate president; Tamara Gibson, Staff Council chair; Henry Wan, associate professor and world-leading influenza researcher; and Roxanne Raven, Student Association president and Schillig Leadership Scholar.


The impact a university carries enables its people to positively influence society in many ways. Mississippi State University creates an impact every day through success, discovery, outreach, globalization and experience. It all begins with the people who are the heart of the 138-year-old institution–talented students and esteemed faculty–and their aspirations and their endeavors.

Infinite possibilities await Mississippi State and, in the coming years, the university will capitalize on opportunities to further engage, educate and serve people everywhere. To that end, the university is reigniting its highly successful Infinite Impact campaign to proudly pursue a more ambitious goal of $1 billion in private gifts by 2020. The campaign surpassed its initial $600 million goal several years ahead of schedule.

“Private support is essential to the future of Mississippi State, and we will make an Infinite Impact through the collective power of gifts from a strong base of supporters,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. “Together, we will make a lasting impact on our students, on our university, on Mississippi and ultimately, as our students go forth, take their places and make their contributions as graduates—we will make an Infinite Impact on the world.”

As Mississippi State experiences record enrollment, Infinite Impact is helping achieve the long-term strategic goals of the university. The success of Infinite Impact will help Mississippi State directly by improving the quality of programs and the opportunities for students and faculty, and indirectly by further boosting the university’s reputation well beyond the United States. The goal of the campaign is to afford Mississippi State the resources it needs to continue its emergence as a top-tier, nationally positioned university with growing international visibility.

The Mississippi State impact begins on campus as gifts help provide an unparalleled educational experience and support scholarships that will prepare graduates who will become responsible citizens. These scholarships help make possible undergraduate and graduate study for students, while gifts for endowed chairs and professorships help select faculty train and nurture future world leaders. Endowed position holders bring prestige to Mississippi State, and their endeavors bring progress on many levels.

State-of-the-art facilities and program enhancements create the best education and research experience possible for students and their faculty mentors. Infinite Impact is helping bring new classroom buildings, residence halls and a veterans building as Mississippi State builds a stronger infrastructure to support a growing student body. Rounding out the MSU experience are new and enhanced athletic facilities for student-athletes who are learning and competing on and off the playing fields.

Campaign gifts allow Mississippi State to pursue higher graduation rates, competitive faculty salaries, expanded opportunities for study abroad and other international experiences, and greater opportunities for faculty and students alike in interdisciplinary research that makes life better for people in all corners of the globe.

“This monumental $1 billion goal will require passionate supporters to come forward and give to areas that matter most to them,” said John P. Rush, vice president for development and alumni, who also serves as president and CEO of the MSU Foundation. “MSU has 135,000 living alumni and their decisions and actions have a global impact. By working together, we can raise an additional $400 million by 2020 and position our university for new heights in education and research.”

Mississippi State is already making great strides as a leading research university, and Infinite Impact gifts are propelling its efforts, from pioneering cutting-edge technology for unmanned aircraft systems to engineering the “Car of the Future.” Furthermore, advances in research around global issues like cybersecurity, conservation, crop production and food security are enabling Mississippi State to help solve real-world problems. Additionally, all MSU students will gain exposure to research for education with a future campus school, while a new university-wide entrepreneurship center will create business startups and new university programs will help advance health care.

“Nearly 53,000 contributors are already on board with our campaign and more than 21,000 of them are first-time contributors to MSU,” Rush said. “Their gifts are having lasting results on Mississippi State’s endowment and improving the daily life of our university.”

Generous contributions for Infinite Impact have provided a successful foundation on which to build, and Mississippi State is ready for a bold, new step forward that will extend the Bulldog influence beyond geographic boundaries. Now is the time for alumni and friends to accept the challenge and assist Mississippi State as it shapes the world for future generations.

By Amy Cagle | Photo by Russ Houston