A community of support – Thanks a Billion!

In a single day last April, more than 1,790 donors pitched in during Colorado State University’s fourth annual Love Your State Day of Giving to raise a record $732,596. Some of those gifts went to support research and scholarships for students, while others went to the very basics: meals through Rams Against Hunger for students experiencing food insecurity.

Donors ensured CSU students from independent backgrounds – former foster youth – receive the support and encouragement they need to succeed through the Fostering Success program.

Hundreds of donors also gave to School is Cool, an outreach program that provides thousands of school-supply filled backpacks annually to K-12 Poudre School District students in need.

These examples show a community coming together and giving together to create far-reaching impact. Throughout the State Your Purpose campaign, which set out to raise $1 billion by 2020 when CSU celebrates its 150th year, donors have given to causes important to them as well as to the university.

“Giving starts with what is in the heart. More than 113,000 donors have tapped into their passions and given to areas that they care about at CSU during this campaign,” said Kim Tobin, CSU vice president for University Advancement. “Every gift matters at Colorado State University, big or small. The collective generosity of thousands of donors has truly transformed the campus and greatly impacted the experiences of our students and our faculty.”

The highlights of this remarkable campaign, which eclipsed its billion-dollar goal almost two years ahead of schedule, on Sept. 18, 2018, are a picture of tremendous generosity from alumni and friends.

Transformational Philanthropy

More than 106,000 individuals and more than 7,200 organizations contributed to meeting the $1 billion goal. Of those, CSU received 179 transformational gifts of $1 million or more.

“When we set the goal of $1 billion in 2012, many people said it was too ambitious,” said Brett Anderson, former vice president for University Advancement and now special assistant to the president at CSU. “Our alumni, our donors and friends are amazing and they fully believe in what we’re doing here at Colorado State. Thanks to their generosity, we continue to raise the bar of excellence.”

These transformational gifts create scholarships, support faculty, and boost the university’s research enterprise, all while changing CSU’s physical campus in a flurry of building and renovation.

  • $53.3 million gift – largest gift in CSU history – from alumnus Walter Scott, Jr. (’53), to fund up to 80 undergraduate scholarships, 30 graduate fellowships, along with four presidential chairs. The Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering was named in his honor.
  • $42.5 million gift – from communications leader John Malone and his wife, Leslie, and a gift of $20 million from Hawaii’s Princess Abigail Kawananakoa to establish the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute, slated to open in late 2018. The Institute, named for pioneering equine orthopedist and CSU professor Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, will bring together leading medical experts to explore innovative treatments, including stem cell therapy, to improve animal and human health.
  • $13 million gift – from energy entrepreneur Michael Smith and his wife, Iris, to provide more than 100 scholarships for students in business, chemistry and geosciences, and support the construction of the new Michael Smith Natural Resources Building, and the Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center.
  • $8.1 million gift – from Nancy (’82) and Curt Richardson, co-founders of OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises, for the Nancy Richardson Design Center. The Center will house design studios, fabrication/prototype/ideation labs, presentation spaces, classrooms and computer labs, and challenges students and faculty to think differently when creating and innovating.

Over the Top

 After more than six years of collective generosity, two gifts pushed the State Your Purpose campaign over its $1 billion goal. (See: One unique way to reach $1 billion.)

The gifts are both from anonymous donors who have included CSU in their estate plans. One will donate the proceeds of the sale of his ranch, estimated at $10 million, to support programming in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And an alumna will provide $6 million in need-based scholarships for students, with another $2 million to endow the women’s swimming coach position – a first for that type of endowment at CSU.

“You can feel the billion-dollar impact throughout our campus,” says Tobin. “And it’s just the beginning. We look forward to helping propel the institution that we know and love so much into her next 150 years.”

One billion dollars and counting. Testimony to the passion for CSU that people share, rallying to support Colorado’s land-grant public research university today and into the future.

The State Your Purpose campaign will continue through the university’s 150th anniversary in 2020. To learn more about opportunities to support research or any area of CSU with your gift, of any size, go to giving.colostate.edu.

Photos highlighting the impact of the State Your Purpose Campaign and $1 billion of giving.