September 11, 2006

SIU Foundation reports fiscal year successes

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The SIU Foundation reports a successful fund-raising effort for the last fiscal year and officials are reporting significant progress in the comprehensive campaign to raise at least $100 million for people, programs and places at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and SIU Foundation CEO, said the Foundation had $20.5 million in total activity during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006. Total activity includes contributions, pledges and pledge payments.

"We're pleased we went over the $20 million mark. That's a pleasant situation," McCurry said. "We have two years left in the campaign with just under $40 million remaining to raise. We want to thank everyone who has participated but we can't get comfortable. There is still a lot of work to do."

SIUC last year publicly announced its first-ever capital campaign, "Opportunity Through Excellence," with the stated goal of bringing in at least $100 million. McCurry said the grand total now stands at $62.2 million. The five-year campaign follows a year of planning that began in July 2002 and is projected to end June 30, 2008.

The comprehensive campaign is part of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

"There is fierce competition everywhere you look for private and corporate support of higher education, and the success of the Foundation speaks to the dedication and skills of Vice Chancellor McCurry and his staff," Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said. "Many improvements are under way on our campus, and many more are to come. We could not make this kind of progress without the generous support of the University community, our alumni and many friends."

McCurry said the current fiscal year will see University officials and Foundation volunteers fanning out across the country looking for yet-undiscovered resources for SIUC.

"You're going to see an all-out, grassroots effort to contact every alumnus of SIUC," McCurry said. "We have over 400,000 records in our database and we want to discover more Salukis every day."

During the campaign, the gifts to SIUC have been diverse in size and scope. For example, McCurry said the Foundation received:

• one gift of $5 million;

• two gifts between $2.5 million and $5 million;

• four gifts between $1 million and $2.5 million;

• six gifts between $500,000 and $1 million.

Just as important, McCurry said the Foundation received some 55,000 gifts of $10,000 or less.

"The story here is that every gift is important," McCurry said. "We've been successful in obtaining large gifts, and we need to do more. But this shows the person who can write a $100 check is very important to this process."

Another high point of the last fiscal year involved giving all SIUC employees the opportunity to contribute to the effort. Since the March 29 event marking that occasion, McCurry said University employees have contributed some $285,000. Since the start of the comprehensive campaign, employees have contributed $4.6 million, including a single $2.4 million anonymous donation from an employee in 2004.

Money raised by the campaign has funded 103 new endowments, including two department chairs, and multiple faculty positions and scholarships, McCurry said. The additional endowments raise the total number at SIUC to more than 700.

McCurry said Foundation board members and volunteers and University leaders also are instrumental to the campaign's success

"We've had tremendous volunteer leadership from Marsha Ryan and others across the country," said McCurry, referring to campaign chair Marsha Ryan. "The volunteers have given endlessly of their talent and resources to get us to this level.

"At the same time, department chairs, deans, the provost and the chancellor have given their all to generate positive feelings about the University to benefit this effort," he said.

"As we stated at the beginning, this is about people, programs and places at SIUC. We have gifts for each of those areas and the campaign continues," McCurry said.

Also, the SIU Foundation Board is welcoming new member Greg N. Cook of Makanda.

Cook is president and co-founder of Cook Portable Warehouses and is a native of Carbondale. His company, also known as Cook Sales Inc., manufactures and distributes storage barns, garages and cabins through dealerships in 11 states. He previously owned and operated an excavating business and attended SIUC in 1977-78, majoring in business administration. His wife, Nancy Cook, graduated from SIUC in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Both are life members of the SIU Alumni Association.

Cook and his father, the late John Cook, both served on the Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitmentplanning committee. An active supporter of Saluki athletics, Cook served on the Saluki Futures Campaign committee and the recent athletic director search committee.

The Cooks have three children.