Murray State’s Hold Thy Banner High campaign exceeded its goal of raising $60 million one year before its original deadline.
The goal was met in June and, according to the campaign’s website, $61.4 million has been raised in the last six years.
Bob Jackson, associate vice president of Development and Government Relations, said the campaign will now stretch its goal to $70 million, continuing the initiative until reaching the orignal 2012 deadline.
Proceeds for the campaign rely primarily on donations from alumni who want to advance the University, he said.
“During the course of this campaign the University has received more than 20,000 gifts donated by alumni,” Jackson said. “That has caused us to reach our goal early.”
The campaign was started in 2005 when state funding started to decrease due to the federal recession, Jackson said.
“We’re in an economic environment where we have to rely on private funding more and more,” he said. “As state funding declines we have to rely on private dollars to fill that gap.”
Jim Carter, vice president of Institutional Advancement, said at the time the campaign was started, the University took a chance. He said while other regional universities accepted financial cuts, the University was proactive in starting a money-raising campaign.
According to the campaign’s website, nearly 50 percent of the profits will go to student academic scholarships and study abroad opportunities.
“It benefits students first and foremost,” Jackson said. “During the course of this campaign we have nearly doubled the amount of privately funded scholarships awarded to students.”
Money earned will also benefit University athletics, academic excellence and strategic investments, the website states.
Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said the donations made by alumni make it possible for more students to attend Murray State.
“I think it’s significant particularly in today’s economy,” Robertson said. “It shows how loyal (Murray State) alumni is and how much they love this University. It means something to give to the University in tough economic times.”
University President Randy Dunn said he was pleased when he heard the news of the University’s achievement.
“This is a great problem to have – when you set out a target a number of years in advance and you meet that target goal about one year early,” Dunn said.
David Dill, president and COO of LifePoint Hospitals in Nashville, Tenn., is a national co-chair of the campaign.
“Murray State University means a great deal to my wife, Ashley, me and my entire family,” Dill stated in a press release. “This campaign has provided all of us a wonderful opportunity to give back to an institution that has given us so much.
“I want to add my sincere gratitude to our thousands of alumni and friends who have contributed during this campaign so that MSU can continue its great legacy of providing a quality and affordable education to our students.”
Jackson said the campaign will end on homecoming weekend of next year with a celebration to thank donors.