Thursday, Aug. 07, 2008
Utah State University’s alumni and friends had many moments to get comfortable with the word “celebration” on Aug. 6 in Salt Lake City as President Stan L. Albrecht brought cheers again and again by announcing one comprehensive campaign success after another to a packed hall of supporters.
First the president announced to rousing applause that the university would double the campaign goal from $200 million to $400 million. Then he followed that news by listing a steady stream of previously unannounced major gifts.
“Our announcement this evening is much more than just stating that we are extending our reach,” the president told about 500 supporters at the Depot in Salt Lake City. “We are also announcing a series of gifts that has been received since our Founders Day event in March. These gifts anchor the second half of the campaign and get us off to a rousing start.”
The university announced in March at Founders Day that it had exceeded its initial $200 million goal only one year after the announcement of the campaign’s public phase. The campaign was scheduled to continue through Dec. 31, 2010, but Albrecht told the crowd that the university would extend the closing date until July 2012.
The campaign total is now $225 million.
The new gifts include $5 million from Dell Loy and Lynnette Hansen. Among other things, the Hansen gift includes support for retention scholarships that allow USU to help students stay in school and complete their education rather than drop out for economic reasons.
“If you want to read some heartwarming stories, you should read some of the wonderful letters written by students who benefit from the Hansen scholarships,” Albrecht said.
The gifts include an additional $3.2 million from David and Diann Sant. These funds are on top of their earlier gifts that allowed USU to complete the Sant Engineering Innovation Building earlier this summer. The Sant gifts provide unique leveraging opportunities to create partnerships with industry. “This represents the beginning of a new era in university-industry relationships that will help keep Utah’s economy strong,” the president said.
On a sad note, the president said USU lost a great friend with the passing of David Sant recently, but his memory will live on in the form of a beautiful new building and scholarship endowments that carry his name.
The new gifts also include an additional commitment from Jim and Carol Laub that will allow us to finish the new athletic-academic complex in the north endzone of Romney Stadium. Again, this project summarizes the Aggie spirit in an amazing way — more than 400 donors contributed financially to the project, over 200 individuals volunteered their time, and the project received an amazing $750,000 in contractor discounts and in-kind labor.
The gifts include a $1.5 million gift from Anadarko to USU’s regional campus in the Uintah Basin, a half-million dollar gift to Business and Sociology from Korean businessman Young Chul Hong, and new scholarship and other support endowments from Spencer and Melanie Raymond, Fred and Sharon Hunsaker, Dennis and Rebecca Funk, Tim and Marcia Stewart, Eugene and Jeanine Hansen, Alan and Jeannie Hall. It includes gifts to USU’s athletic program from John Forzani, Kevin Curtis and Chris Cooley. And it includes an anonymous $1 million dollar commitment from a member of the university faculty.
Ross Peterson, vice president for advancement, said the SLC event was an exciting opportunity for the 50,000 USU alumni along the Wasatch Front to express their “Aggie pride,” and they didn’t miss the chance as the hall filled to standing-room-only.
“There was electricity, enthusiasm and pride about the entire evening as people reconnected with their university,” Peterson said. “They had the chance to meet our best students, our great professors and to talk to other people who lived that same great Utah State experience.”
Peterson said he was awed by the number of people who wanted to talk about their experiences at USU and who now wanted to help. They were excited about what the students and professors are doing and where the university is headed.
He noted that talks by Kaye Jorgensen, Steve Mothersell and Merlin Olsen helped those in the crowd recapture the spirit of both Cache Valley and of the university of which they are themselves so proud.
“They told me that Utah State University made a loud and clear statement in Salt Lake City about that sometimes-hidden, world-class research university up in Logan,” he said. “We made our presence known, and they were proud.”
Albrecht began the evening by thanking all the supporters who had contributed to the campaign to that point. He noted that donors large and small were important to the campaign’s success, and he listed some facts that show how inclusive the campaign has been.
- 36,467 individuals made contributions to the campaign since it started
- that includes 3,787 new donors just since the March announcement
- a total of 14,260 individuals have made their first ever gift to Utah State University since the campaign was announced
- the university has established approximately 100 new endowments
Albrecht said the campaign’s success in its first year is impressive, but the real message lies outside the numbers of dollars raised.
“The real message is in the lives of our students that have been changed by the opportunities created for them as a result of your generous gifts to our scholarship programs,” he said. “The real message is that, with your help, we are continuing to build a university of excellence, a university of imagination, a university of promise and a university that epitomizes leadership in all senses of the term.
“So in this way, the real meaning of the gifts we have received lies outside the numbers. These gifts truly do create meaning without measure as lives are changed and opportunities created.”
He also announced a new scholarship endowment designed to help increase the number of people who are denied access to college for economic reasons. The Aggie Promise Scholarship Endowment will provide $1,000 in need-based aid to first generation and other students with limited economic means and will be used as an incentive to encourage these students to enter college and complete degrees. USU has already received a lead pledge of $100,000 to launch this program.
“The next phase of our campaign will emphasize growing our endowment so we can continue to provide opportunities for students who would otherwise be denied them,” he said. “We believe that excellence and opportunity are two sides of the same coin, the coin that is Utah State University.”
Contact and writer: Tim Vitale (435) 797-1356, firstname.lastname@example.org