October 07, 2008

Comprehensive campaign raises $106.2 million

by Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Foundation announced that $106,200,000 was donated in support of scholarships and graduate assistantships for students, faculty positions, and University programs and facilities during its Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign for Southern, which concluded June 30. The six-year effort is the first comprehensive campaign in the University’s history.

The final campaign figure, which includes contributions from alumni, friends, faculty, staff, foundations, organizations, and corporations, was unveiled during a campaign celebration, Oct. 3 on the SIU Carbondale campus. The total is also well beyond the campaign’s official $100-million goal.

“I am thankful for the alums and friends who provided the energies, expertise, and resources, our University needed to bring the goals of this campaign to fruition. They have all been so generous in support of Southern,” says SIU Carbondale alumna Marsha Ryan, national chair of Opportunity Through Excellence. “This campaign’s effects will last for years, and for generations of students to come. I am so grateful to everyone who made this campaign a success.”

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation, says 68,306 donors contributed to the campaign.

Launched in July 2002, the Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign generated support for scholarships, academic programs, and for facility enhancements. Also, 160 new endowed funds have been established, creating additional scholarship opportunities for SIUC students and resources to foster faculty development.

Two significant highlights of the campaign include:

• The Troutt-Wittmann Academic and Training Center -- the University’s first privately funded building -- which was completed as part of a gift of $4.5 million;

• A gift of $10.2 million to support programs and services offered at the state-of-the-art SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.

“This is a significant and historic achievement for this University. It was made possible through the efforts of devoted alumni, donors, volunteers and our advancement staff,” McCurry says. “We’re trying to create a culture of private support to Southern. As a University, we can no longer rely on state and federal government resources. The support of our alumni and friends will continue to be essential. This shift in culture is critical to the future of this University specifically and public higher education in general.”

Interim Chancellor Samuel Goldman says: “Our donors are people with deep affection for our University. They understand the importance of higher education and they recognize the vital role Southern plays in transforming lives and society. No matter how large or small, each gift is a critical investment in the people, places and programs of our University, and we are profoundly grateful.”

McCurry says the success of the Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign won’t thwart the University’s future fundraising efforts.

“As a university and community, we want to acknowledge the accomplishments of our volunteers, staff, alumni, and donors. But we can’t afford to become complacent and caught up in what has already been accomplished,” he says. “We have to continue raising money to support the priorities of this University.”